Illini Offer Walker

Indianapolis-area point guard C.J. Walker proved he was worthy of the scholarship he received. He talks about the offer and his relationship with Illinois.

Indianapolis (IN) Arsenal Tech point guard C.J. Walker, a former Purdue commit, has raised his level of play considerably this spring on the EYBL circuit. He's the type of player who responds well to a challenge, and in that league, he knows he will be challenged by some of the best in every game.

"I'm learning a lot just playing against a variety of different players," he said, "Some guys are quicker and more athletic. I get to play against guys I never thought I'd play against, like Malik Monk, for example. It shows where I'm really at and it's a good learning experience."

Walker takes a lot of pride in playing his high school ball in the state of Indiana and feels that players from the Hoosier state are more well-rounded than people give them credit for.

"Indiana is way different," Walker said. "To me, (high school basketball) in the state of Indiana is just way better. Some states have height and some have athleticism, but Indiana has it all."

When Walker came back onto the market, he instantly became one of the hotter commodities at PG in the 2016 class.

"Since I decommitted, I've been hearing from Florida State, Illinois, Butler, Penn State, Wichita State, Michigan, Texas A&M, Memphis, and a little from Duke," he said.

Most of the schools showing Walker significant interest rely heavily on guard play.

"They're mostly guard-oriented," said Walker. "For example, Florida State had a guard average 15 points per game as a freshman. I like when a team's guards can come in and make plays early. Wichita State had Fred VanVleet. I compare myself to him a bit."

Walker has a solid skill set on the floor, but one of his most valuable assets is an intangible that is crucial to being an effective floor general.

"I'm a vocal leader," Walker said. "I always stay positive throughout the game and never get down. I just like to wear down teams at the end and then attack the basket and get to the free throw line."

The relationship with the Illinois staff is growing quickly. It can't hurt the Illini's chances that he also keeps in touch with Indianapolis-area native and incoming Illinois guard Jalen Coleman-Lands.

"We're getting to know each other a lot," he said. "Jalen is going there. I know him and have played against him before. I know he can do it. Guards from previous years have been successful there, and once again, it's guard-oriented. It's a pretty good school."

One thing was made abundantly clear Walker, too. Illinois wants him to be a part of their program, evidenced by a scholarship offer extended to the 2016 PG on Wednesday.

"It was pretty exciting, to be honest," he said. "They've been recruiting me pretty hard and hearing it from the head coach today was pretty good."

And it's not like Illinois didn't do their homework on Walker either. The offer was close to two years in the making, and receiving the offer was a sign of reassurance that Walker's hard work, growth, and improvement haven't gone unnoticed.

"Illinois has been watching me since the beginning of my sophomore year," he explained, "so they really know me and have seen me play and grow as a player. I felt like I've worked for it and deserved it."

Some of the schools on Walker's list are further away, though. However, Walker knows whether he ends up an hour from home or ten hours from home, his family will be there.

"I really don't care about distance," he said. "I know my family will be there for me and support me no matter where I go. I know wherever I go, the coaches will take care of me, too."

As of right now, Walker does not appear to be in any rush to make a decision, especially after decommitting not long ago. So for those expecting his pledge soon, they may be waiting for a while.

"I'm pretty much going to wait until AAU season is over to set up visits," he said. "I'll probably commit in November or maybe this time next year (late signing period)."

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