Young and Talented

It's been a big week for Little Rock Hall sophomore point guard A.J. Walton (6-1, 180). He got a scholarship offer from the University of Arkansas earlier in the week and now has led his 16-and-under Arkansas Wings team into the Final Four of the state's 17-and-under AAU tournament on Sunday in North Little Rock.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK - The 17-and-under state AAU basketball tournament has a young interloper in its Final Four.

That would be the Arkansas Wings' 16-and-under squad led by Little Rock Hall sophomore point guard A.J. Walton (6-1, 180), who got an offer from the University of Arkansas earlier this week.

"I really didn't know anything about it (the offer) until I got to school and one of my coaches told me and then I read more about it in the paper the next day," Walton said. "I was shocked and excited and happy about it."

New Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey, who wanted to make sure he was the first to Walton with an offer and has also offered Fayetteville sophomore guard Fred Gulley, has promised a style of play that interests the player.

"They are going to have the team I would like to play for and I think I could be a good point guard for them," Walton said. "I like to get it up and down the court and that is how he is saying they are going to play."

He is also getting interest from South Carolina, Kentucky and Auburn.

"I feel good about it, but I am going to keep working hard," Walton said. "I know I have to get better to be able to play the way I want to on the D-1 college level."

Walton and the Wings, who are now 3-0 in a tournament that started with 14 teams in pool play on Friday night, will be back in action Sunday morning at 9 a.m. at Shorter College.

That's when they will take on the Wings' 17-and-under squad - which knocked out the Arkansas Kings on Saturday night - while the Arkansas All-Stars and the Northwest Arkansas Wings will follow in a 10:30 a.m. contest.

A third-place game at 1:30 will preceed the championship contest at 3 p.m. with three teams earning invites to the AAU National Tournament in Orlando in late July.

"We are playing really well right now," Walton said. ‘We got second in the Dallas (Next Level Ballers) tournament and have played well to be undefeated so far in this one through pool and championship round play. Most of us have been playing together since we were 12 and it shows."


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