For some prospects, the summer recruiting period is a chance to showcase their game in hopes of getting scholarship offers from the blue bloods of college basketball.
Lonnie Walker is not one of them. His lights-out shooting and immense potential have already netted him offers from the some of the nation's best programs, including Villanova, Indiana, UConn, Arizona, and Kentucky.
A 6'5" shooting guard that plays for Reading High School in Reading, Pennsylvania, Walker is currently ranked by ESPN as the third-best shooting guard and 14th-overall prospects in the 2017 recruiting class, not to mention the top player in the state of Pennsylvania.
While home-state Villanova is currently the favorite in his recruitment, Walker gushed about UK in an interview with the Herald-Leader.
"Everyone knows Kentucky," Walker said. "In and out, NBA players. That’s his thing. And he knows how to coach them. He coaches the top talent. Not only does he coach them, but he makes them better players. Works on their weaknesses and their overall game, and that’s what makes them a lot better when they go into the league."
It wasn't that long ago that Calipari offered the 17-year-old Walker. As you can imagine, it was a special moment for Walker as all of his hard work and dedication to his craft led to an honor few earn.
"He (Calipari) said he really loves my game," Walker said. "It was rejuvenating. I had an abundant amount of feelings going through my stomach. Words I can’t really express."
"I can play both ends of the court, and I can also play multiple positions. He really appreciates the way I play, how I run the floor, how I shoot. He really loves my jump shot, feels that I have a really good flow with it. He told me that a few times."
As for his college decision, it will come sooner rather than later as he wants to end his recruitment before his senior season ends.
"And once my senior year starts, I don’t really have to worry about all the colleges calling me and all that extra pressure while I’m playing," Walker said.
For now, Walker doesn't have any official visits planned, but he hopes to schedule some after next month’s Nike Peach Jam finals, when he also hopes to trim his list.
Based on his remarks, I would venture to guess UK will be on that trimmed list.
Over at DraftExpress, they did breakdowns on some of the top prospects who took part in the recent USA Basketball U18 Training Camp. Here's what they had to offer on Walker:
-Has outstanding physical tools. Big, strong frame. Ample height for a shooting guard. Big wingspan that should allow him to even guard some small forwards.
-Good athlete. Strong first step. Good quickness.
-Good with the ball. Creative and strong. Finishes acrobatically using both sides of the rim. Can power through contact with his strong frame
-Capable outside shooter. 40% for 3 in EYBL play on over five attempts per game. Compact stroke. Can make shots off the dribble. Rises up off the bounce nicely.
-Difficult to contain in transition with combination of strength and quickness. Big powerful strides
-Has great potential defensively. Gets on the glass thanks to his strong tools. Contests shots on the perimeter impressively.
-Struggles to play off the ball. Was utilized as an off the ball wing in Colorado Springs and had a difficult time making his presence felt. Is much better as a slashing guard.
-Lacks some assertiveness at times. Very nonchalant. Goes through the motions. Very quiet guy on the floor.
-Better shooting off the bounce than he is with his feet set. Somewhat rigid mechanics in catch and shoot situations. Big ball dip. Takes time to get off.
-Needs to improve his advanced ball-handling skills in the half-court. Relies a little too heavily on his frame to help bulldoze through the lane
-Effort level comes and goes on defense. Stands around off the ball.