New Name on Mizzou Hoops Radar

Missouri's coaching staff is very much in the market for a point guard in next year's class, as has been evidenced by its full-court press on Arkansas standout Fred Gulley and in-state star Michael Dixon. But Inside Mizzou has the details about new very much on the Mizzou radar, and once again your spot for the best coverage of recruiting and behind-the-scenes MU hoops info has the scoop…

Missouri has been showing an increasing level of interest in another Arkansas point guard, junior A.J. Walton of Hall High in Little Rock. Hall, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound junior who is averaging 12-plus points, nine assists and 4.5 rebounds heading into tonight's state tournament opener, has received two visits from MU staff recently.

"Coach Zimmerman has been in a couple times to watch practice," said Hall coach George Cirks. "I know Arkansas and Baylor would like him to commit early, and I think Missouri is the same."

Mizzou, of course, would also love to have Dixon or Gulley. But Walton doesn't sound like a consolation prize. He's an aggressive guard who likes to attack the rim and has innate ability to find teammates for baskets. Many consider him a top-20 point guard in the national class of '09, a ranking that could improve even more with a strong spring and summer AAU tour with the Arkansas Wings.

"I don't think his [stock] is going to go down at all unless there was an injury or something like that, just with his ability to be a point guard and get the ball to teammates. I think what will improve is his jumpshot and his ability to pull up for the jumper instead of going to the backboard," Cirks said.

Walton is one of only two players in Cirks' 13 years to start for Hall as freshmen, and has interest from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kentucky as well. Baylor has been on him since watching him last summer, while Arkansas and Mizzou began to show increased interest this fall. He's a solid student and is not the Razorback lock some might assume of a kid from Little Rock.

"I think he's open. He's just a junior and he has plenty of time to take visits to any of the schools," he said. "I don't think he'll do anything until next year."

Cirks said many have compared Walton to former Arkansas star Todd Day because of his relentless, hard-nosed style of play. Should he continue to live up to such lofty comparisons, he'll remain a serious MU target and a player will continue to keep tabs on…

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