Barbee Offers Very Young Hoops Prospect

Auburn men's basketball coach Tony Barbee has offered a scholarship to a player who hasn't yet started playing high school hoops.

Riverdale, Ga.--One of the top performers at Auburn's Elite Basketball Camp on Saturday is years away from being able to sign a college basketball scholarship, but that didn't keep Coach Tony Barbee from making an offer to young James Walker.

A 6-4 1/2, 198 guard for the 2017 signing class, Walker is the son of former college basketball players. He obviously inherited a lot of talent from his mother and father and, just as noticeably, he has received excellent coaching at an early age.

Just 15-years-old and headed into the ninth grade this fall at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, Walker and his parents were invited to talk to Barbee after the camp and they were pleased with the conversation.

"When Coach Barbee offered me a scholarship they were amazed," Walker says. "My mom almost broke down crying. She was saying the hard work was starting to pay off. It is a dream come true almost. I have a scholarship opportunity on the table."

"My mom played on a national championship team at Hampton University when it was a Division II team," the prospect points out. "Now it is Division I. My dad also had a very successful college career playing at Norfolk State."

Their son has a strong all-around game. He has a quick release on his jump shot, a good shooting touch, lots of quickness, he is a good defender and is an outstanding passer. He is surprisingly strong around the basket for someone who won't turn 16 until next March.

"I would say point guard is my favorite position because I love to distribute the ball to my teammates," says Walker, who is known to his friends as "M.J."

"I can play any position the coach puts me at," he adds. "I feel like this summer I have put in a lot of time, a lot of work basketball-wise and I am getting better. I am putting up a lot of shots and I feel like that my hard work showed today at the camp."

James "M.J." Walker drives to the hoop.

The prospect notes the time spent at the Auburn Elite Camp playing against more experienced prospects was productive. "It was a good camp to go to because I am exposed to competition from players outside my age group," Walker says. "It helps bring up my basketball IQ. I think it helps me make a better player."

The prospect notes that Auburn is the first college to offer him a scholarship. "I am really humble about it and I appreciate it," he says. "It was a happy moment for me. Coach Barbee said he liked the way I played, especially at such a young age."

Walker is so young he played basketball for Rex Mill Middle School in Rex., Ga., last season.

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