Though only a rising junior, M.J. Walker earned a dedicated evaluation from Turgeon and assistant coach Cliff Warren. Not only is Walker our No. 13 national hoops prospect for 2017, he’s also considered one of the South’s top football prospects in his class.
Walker has put on an impressive scoring display this spring for the Atlanta Xpress 16s. He’s leading the team with 15 points per game and also averages four rebounds and four assists per contest.
He’s a solidly built, explosive athlete who threw down a dunk on Friday that immediately surfaced on various highlight reels. He also buried some long jump shots — but needs to become more consistent from long-range — and made confident moves in transition. Long story short, he’s an easy call for blue-chip status in rising junior class.
Walker claims football offers from Georgia, Michigan, Miami, NC State, Louisville, Mississippi State and others. Given that gridiron offers tend to go out later because prospects self-identify later in their careers, that’s an extremely impressive portfolio.
He’s also in the process of growing his hoops interest, but at this point his hardwood offers lag his football invitations. Thus, it’s highly newsworthy that Maryland took the proactive step of issuing an early offer.
The Terrapins only recently jumped into the fray, but they’ve made a strong push.
”(Maryland) came to my school last Tuesday, and Coach Turgeon spoke to me and my dad,” Walker said. “He said I am a five star in football and most of those players take a football role, but he understands and is just going to see how my game goes.
”He said I remind him a lot of Dez Wells. That was a great compliment from him and I appreciated that.”
Walker doesn’t appear to be in any hurry and understands the dilemma he could face as his prep career progresses. In this age of specialization, attempting to play two sports in college proves unrealistic for most. Still, he won’t rule it out.
”I have thought about (playing both sports),” he said. “It’s going to be tough. I’m going to have to be focused, I can’t really be like everybody else.
”I’d have to single myself out, but I have thought about it.”
And here in the spring of his sophomore year, Maryland basketball is keeping him in mind, too.