On The Road: Marcus Walker

<b>KANSAS CITY, Mo. –</b> It was starting to look like a performance gone bad for Marcus Walker and the Archbishop O'Hara Celtics. Then, with under a minute remaining, the 6-0 junior guard made a series of key plays to salt away the win.

A pair of future Division I prospects tangled Friday night at Archbishop O'Hara High in Kansas City. Visiting Warrensburg, led by 6-7 power forward Dane Watts gave O'Hara and 6-0 junior guard Marcus Walker all it could handle for most of the game.

Then, with under a minute to go, Walker wrestled a rebound away from Watts. The offensive rebound and subsequent assist to a teammate – who made the bucket and the free throw – put O'Hara ahead for good. Six seconds later, Walker would hit the first of his four free throws that iced it 53-50.

"In the crucial parts of the game," Walker said, "I got the ball where it needed to go and my teammates got it to me."

By his own admission, the game against Warrensburg certainly wasn't his best effort, especially when you consider that three weeks ago he scored 45 points in the second half of a game en route to 54. Against Warrensburg his stroke was misfiring from downtown and he didn't get into a flow offensively. He would finish with 20 points on 8-for-19 shooting and 0-for-5 from downtown. He came into the game averaging 27 a night.

The 6-0, 160 pounder has been evaluated by a number of programs. Marquette sent head coach Tom Crean in early to see him. Oklahoma State, Illinois, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa and Oklahoma have either been in touch or been in to see him, according to his high school coach Todd Magwire. Creighton had an assistant in the building Friday night.

Like many in the Class of 2005, schools are likely waiting for Walker to play his way into an offer. High-majors are continuing to evaluate him. Likely a combo guard on the college level, he appears more comfortable in the role of scoring guard though he says he favors being a point. On Friday, he had one assist as we counted four chances that could have been finished for him.

Walker will take a series of unofficial visits in the coming weeks. He's going to Oklahoma State "soon" and Marquette in "mid-February." He's been to the local schools and the next time Kansas State has a weekend game at home he'll be there.

While Walker made the plays in the final minute, Watts' resume was built over the course of the game. The Creighton-bound senior pumped in 27 points on 10-for-18 shooting. This wasn't a typical night by the biggest man on the floor. Watts is a face-up four man in college. He's a pick and pop kind of guy on the mid-major level as he's a gifted shooter.

He made 3s, mid-range jumpers and a few in the paint but make no mistake about it the Blue Jays are going to see that his talent facing the basket gets used. An average rebounder because he's not very athletic, it'll be Watts' touch, feel and passing skill that will lead to playing time at Creighton. He turned in an outstanding effort and was the sparkplug in a game that could have gone either way.

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