Walker Picks UNC

Lake Highland Prep has been good to North Carolina’s basketball teams. Twenty months ago, Joel Berry committed to being the future of Roy Williams’s backcourt. On Monday, Destinee Walker did the same for Sylvia Hatchell.

Walker picked UNC over finalists Duke, Notre Dame, Penn State and South Carolina.

“I actually called her (Hatchell) yesterday around 5 p.m.,” Walker told Inside Carolina. “She was so excited. She told me how special of a player I was and how happy she was that I was coming there. She’s so down to earth and I love her country accent. I love the coaching staff as a whole, I feel like if I’m having a bad day I can go and talk to them about anything and be comfortable.”

A consensus top 20 player in the class of 2015, the Orlando, Fla. native is a 5-9 combo guard known for her shooting and ball-handling ability. That ability will pair well with UNC freshman Jamie Cherry and 2015 commit Stephanie Watts as the Tar Heels’ backcourt over the next several seasons.

“Even before my official visit, I knew that’s where I wanted to go,” Walker said. “When you go to a place and you know it’s a place where you fit in, you just have that feeling. The campus is beautiful and I naturally got along with the coaches and girls on the team.”

Her official visit, in late August, cemented Walker’s feelings on UNC. Walker, Watts and UNC’s third class of 2015 commitment, Eternati Willock, took their visits on the same weekend. They spent time together, got to know each other better, toured UNC’s campus and built a friendship that will carry over until they arrive at UNC in June.

“It was more comfortable going up there with them than being the only high school player around,” she said. “Eternati committed while we were up there. I realized during the visit that there’d be a chance for us to be play together, but I wanted to see my other options.”

The trio will learn from former All-American and current assistant coach and WNBA All-Star Ivory Latta. Walker said Latta made her feel “real comfortable” during UNC’s in-home visit.

“I’m really excited to play with her, because Coach (Hatchell) told me she’d be my position coach,” explained Walker. “Being able to work out and be coached by someone that knows what it takes to get there… she’s in the WNBA, she led this season in threes which is my strong point… I feel like I’ll learn a lot from her.”

Walker said Berry, a close friend, never tried to directly influence her decision.

“He texted me this morning and told me it’s a great place to go, “she said. “I don’t really have to ask him what it’s like. He naturally texts me and tells me. He loves it and it’s a great campus and great atmosphere so that made me even more comfortable with my decision. “

This summer, Walker was the youngest player on the USA’s 18U gold medal team at the FIBA Americas. The experience there, she says, has made her a better player.

“My best strength is my shooting, that’s what I’ve been recruited for and my quick release,” she said. “I’ve been working out with my trainer on driving to the basket and getting to the foul line more. This summer, I worked with Dawn Staley and she gave me some key points on defense.”

Walker said she hopes to make a return trip to Chapel Hill this weekend for “Late Night with Roy.”

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