Doors Opening for Walsh

It's been a whirlwind four months for Brian Walsh. As has been well-doumented by now, the Moon (Pa.) High junior was a relative unknown in recruiting circles before last summer, when he went to an open tryout for Adidas ABCD Camp, earned himself a spot and proceeded to grab the attention of a few dozen college coaches -- including Maryland head coach Gary Williams and assistant Chuck Driesell.

To his credit, Brian Walsh hasn't dwelled on his breakout performance, which earned him a spot in the underclassman all-star-game; rather, he claims he's unsure to this day what he did to become such a revelation.

"I don't know. I guess I passed the ball," said Walsh, a 6-foot-4, 180-pound shooting guard who averaged 15 points and eight rebounds per game as a sophomore, leading his team to the WPIAL AAA title.

 "Other guys were looking for their shot and maybe playing a little bit outside their game, so I just fed them the ball. And when I shot, I was fortunate enough that it usually went in."

According to his high school coach, Jeff Ackerman, "There was always a good possibility [of playing Division I basketball] for him, but there's no doubt that going to ABCD really opened up a lot of doors and changed his life for the most part."

Walsh's college list has since expanded from a couple mid-majors to the following: Pitt, Maryland, Clemson, West Virginia, St. Joe's, Memphis, Xavier, Ohio and Akron.

"It's definitely been surprising. It was overwhelming when I got home 'cause people were calling, newspapers were calling, but it's kind of simmered down a little bit," he said. "I'm gonna take it all in, enjoy the colleges and that sort of stuff."

 Pitt has offered a scholarship and appears to have made Walsh a priority recruit in '08. Memphis, Xavier, St. Joe's and Akron have also tendered verbal scholarship offers.

Still, Walsh remains wide open, and Maryland is a program he's quite interested in. The interest seems to be mutual, as he's received a few visits from Driesell -- along with a lot of phone calls and text messages -- and will make a visit the weekend of Nov. 11 for the Miami game. Maryland also was the first school to call when he returned home from ABCD.

"I talk to Coach Driesell a lot," he said.

"They told my coach they might offer when I visit, but I'm not sure if that's [accurate]," said Walsh, who stopped through College Park this summer with his family on the way back from a beach trip.

"I got to go in the locker room and see the players' loung, and [Driesell] showed me the floor," he said. "Just from driving around, it seemed like a nice campus."

He hasn't met Williams yet, "but hopefully I'll get to when I visit," he said.

At this stage, it appears Walsh is on a list of '08 guards led by Sean Mosley of Baltimore and Jarrett Mann of Delaware, along with a few others like Kevon Moore of Archbishop Spalding (Md.). He is a pure shooter with solid ballhandling skills, but admittedly needs to add muscle to his reedy frame and has been putting in his time in the weight room this fall.

Walsh has connections to a couple of other schools on his list. Xavier Sean Miller's father coached his father, Mike Walsh, in eighth grade. And when Mike Walsh was a standout athlete at Moon High, Memphis coach John Calipari was a ballboy at the school.

"“I reminded him that he was a little peon, and I used to throw basketballs at him as he ran across half court with his buddy," Mike Walsh recently told "We used to hit them and knock them over. They were our source of entertainment. He remembers that well.”

The younger Walsh has made a handful of visits recently, including Penn State and St. Joe's and another this weekend to Xavier. He's also been to Pitt more times than he can count to watch games. The campus is 15 minutes from his house. It would stand to reason that Pitt has a great shot at landing his commitment this time next year, which is when he plans to make his decision, but Walsh said otherwise.

"Right now I don't really have any favorites. I haven't really narrowed anyone down," he said. 

With his shooting ability and versatility, Walsh would seem to be a good compliment to current Terps guards Eric Hayes and Greivis Vasquez, who have similar reputations. It seems the staff is bent on bringing in position-less players more than traditional pass-first point guards or shooting guards who are strictly shooters.

"There are a lot of good shooters, but he can create his own shot," Ackerman said.

Still, Walsh's shooting ability, at 6-4, is what most likely is attracting most of the coaches. With Mike Jones entering his final year, Maryland could use a pure shooter on the wing.

"I think he's a great shooter. I think he's athletic and I think he handles the ball well ... I don't know if he's going to go over DI players and dunk, but he can dunk," Ackerman said.

 "He's a very highly skilled kid."

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