BONIFAY — The Panhandle has produced some quality high school basketball players over the years.
None of them generated the hype of Holmes County’s Chris Walker.
A 6-foot-10 forward, Walker already has committed to Billy Donovan’s program at the University of Florida and will join the Gators next year. He’s the 10th-best recruit in the nation according to ESPN.com. Rivals.com gives Walker even more respect, naming him the No. 8 recruit nationally.
His length and athleticism make him an intriguing player, and Walker told The News Herald in August that he expects to play at UF for just one season before entering the NBA Draft. Words would not properly convey the difference in competition between Holmes County — a rural Class 1A program — and NCAA Division I basketball, but Walker has been competing in elite AAU tournaments and showcases against the nation’s best teenagers in cities such as Las Vegas and Atlanta. He teamed with Kasey Hill, another highly touted UF commit for 2013, on his AAU team.
ESPN.com summarized his skills as such: “Walker is very talented with tremendous upside. He has room to improve as an elite player, but has the physical gifts to get there. He has the potential to be a defensive stopper as his length creates problems for opponents. With continued progress to his game Walker should become one of the more sought-after small forwards in this class.”
Walker added his own thoughts.
“I can shoot 3s now,” Walker said in August. “I can finesse you. I can dunk on you. I can guard anything, and I'm rebounding better. When I block shots I catch the ball. I can post you up with my back to the basket and hit you with a post move. Or I can face you up and use my quickness to blow by you.”
Walker led Holmes County to the Region 1-1A semifinals last year. He often found himself triple-teamed when he caught the ball in the paint, but his enhanced versatility and the improvement of teammates around him make Holmes County a threat to advance deeper into this year’s tournament.