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Cal Basketball Recruiting: Bears in the mix for 2017 All-American MJ Walker

Can the Bears reel in another star player from the state of Georgia?

NCAA Basketball: Incarnate Word at California John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Between Jaylen Brown and Shareef Abdur-Rahim the Bears have a good history of luring in 5-star players from Georgia. Will MJ Walker be added to the list?

Walker is a 6’5 shooting guard with good size. Here is where he ranks among the major scouting services:

ESPN: Stars (5); Position Rank (4); State Rank (3); National Rank (19)

Scout: Stars (5); Position Rank (4); State Rank (3); National Rank (23)

Rivals: Stars (5); State Rank (3); National Rank (20)

247Sports: Stars (4); Position Rank (6); State Rank (3); National Rank (29)

Hailing from Jonesboro, the 5-star shooting guard has a host of top schools going after him and is in no rush to make a decision. Cal, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Maryland, Ohio State and UCLA are still going after Walker, according to this Rivals article.

Here is an excerpt from the article containing his thoughts on some of the teams (maybe the author didn’t ask about Cal and Maryland?):

Florida State: “It was nice. I had feel with the coaching staff there. I felt really comfortable with players and I just enjoyed it there.”

Georgia Tech: “Coach (Josh) Pastner, he’s a big energy guy. He brings a lot of energy. They are doing pretty well there. Josh Okogie is playing well and a lot of the young guys are playing well.”

Kansas: “They stay in contact. They talk mostly with dad, so I haven’t personally talked with them much.”

Ohio State: “That’s a nice a school. I like their coaching staff. I talk to all of their coaches.”

UCLA: “They are on me pretty hard. They’ve been by the school. They have been trying to get me out there for a visit. They like how I play and think I’d be a good fit there.”

Walker isn’t likely to make a decision until he takes more official visits, and that isn’t likely to happen until his team is done with its likely lengthy stay in the state playoffs.

Despite not including comments from Walker about Cal and Maryland, the article goes on to say that it’s a tossup at this point as to where he will commit:

Walker doesn’t tip his hand much during interviews. If you wanted to put the names of all seven schools involved into a hat and draw one out, you would have just as good of a chance of getting it right as anybody else. Florida State is clearly a contender as the Seminoles had him on campus, and Georgia Tech has his attention as well. He’s always been intrigued by the idea of going to school in California, so it’s hard to eliminate California and UCLA. Kansas can never be counted out for anybody, and Maryland and Ohio State have been the two schools in this one the longest.

USA Today did a feature on Walker, and one of the cool tidbits from it was that Walker has always dreamed of being a McDonald’s All-American since he watched LeBron James in the dunk contest back in 2003. Walker recently earned his spot as an All-American, but he isn’t treating this situation as if it is all about him as he is trying to bring his entire high school team with him to share in the honor.

“My dad was talking to a lot of representatives to raise money for my teammates to go to Chicago with me,” Walker said. “They helped get me in the position I’m in now. It means a lot to know that they’ll be there to support me.”

It is great to see someone as talented as Walker recognize the contributions of their teammates when they receive a great individual honor like this one.

According to the article, Walker’s Jonesboro team has reached the state championship game three straight years, winning the first two.

The USA Today feature also touches on his recruitment:

Walker is still undecided on where he will go to college. He has taken one official visit, to Florida State, but has also been offered scholarships by 10 schools that include Kansas, UCLA and Maryland.

“It’s still up in the air right now,” he said. “After the season is over, I’m going to start locking in on it, taking my last couple of visits and making my decision soon.

“In addition to wanting to feel comfortable with the program and the coaches, I definitely need to make sure I’m in a stable place academically,” Walker added. “I want to be at a place where I have a great feeling with my teammates, can create a bond with them and adapt to each other’s playing style.”

Walker was also a star football player for Jonesboro, receiving scholarships from Clemson and Miami before he decided to focus on basketball.

“I played both coming up and I definitely was a competitor in football, but it got a point where injuries were a separator in both,” he said. “I kept getting hurt in football, and I had to make a decision. I love football, but my passion was for basketball.”

It is easy to see why Walker is rated so highly when you watch highlights.

Not only is he a tremendous athlete capable of finishing alley oops over opponents, he is a deadly three-point shooter. Walker can flat out light it up from deep. He has a smooth shooting motion and a quick release which, along with his leaping ability, is more than enough to elevate above defenders to get clean looks at the basket.

Walker would be a great signing for the Bears and would significantly improve our class ranking.

What do you guys think about Walker?

Sound off in the comments below. Go Bears!