Walker Beginning to Realize Potential

His numbers won't pop out at you, but there is a reason that Ty Walker is already being heavily recruited by North Carolina and Wake Forest. Walker, who averaged just 5 points and 3 rebounds, made his presence felt on the defensive end -- with 4.7 blocks per game.

Walker was Wilmington (N.C.) New Hanover's defensive stopper this season. The 6-11, 210-pounder put together a few 8- and 9-block performances and helped his team come within one game of the state championship.

"Defensively the way we play and run and press it got to where we would funnel everything into him," New Hanover coach Linc Lyles said. "We could over play on the perimeter and force you to drive right into him. And he became an impact player right in the middle of the season."

Walker is still new to competitive basketball. While he was on his middle school team, he didn't see the floor much. Although he played JV as a freshman, he didn't start and failed to log major minutes. So his emergence as a starter, 10 or so games into the season was a pleasant surprise for Coach Lyles. It didn't hurt that he grew about four inches from his freshmen to sophomore year.

"In my opinion he's only reached 40 to 50 percent of what I think he could be down the road," said Lyles, who coached New Hanover to a 28-2 record. "To me, as good as his did this year, it's nothing compared to what I think he'll be able to do his junior and senior year."

There were a number of quality guards on his team this season, so Walker didn't get to fully showcase his offensive ability. Next season could be different as Walker will be one of the top options.

"He's working hard on inside moves and his jump hooks," Lyles said. "He leaps pretty well too and he has a good jumper. That bodes pretty well having 6-11 size."

With the potential there, many local colleges have taken notice. North Carolina, Wake Forest and N.C. State all traveled to Wilmington to watch Walker play this season. Walker even tripped to North Carolina (twice) and Wake Forest for unofficial visits.

"He has very much interest in Wake Forest and North Carolina right now and if he's good enough to go to one of those schools I think it's a done deal," Lyles said.

Prior to Herb Sendek leaving N.C. State, the Wolfpack was after him. There is also mutual with Virginia. However, according to Lyles, recruiting isn't atop Walker's priority list right now. Walker is focusing on improving his game and performing well this summer, as he'll run with the North Carolina Gaters AAU squad.

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