By JACK LeGWIN
Special to ZAGSBLOG
LAKELAND, Fla. — Chris Walker figures to be a problem for other SEC teams next year when he joins the Florida Gators.
He’s already a huge problem for a lot of high school teams in his home state.
The 6-foot-10, 195-pound Walker put up a triple-double of 20 points, 13 rebounds and 13 blocks Tuesday when Holmes County beat Hawthorne, 51-48, in the 1A state semifinals.
Walker helped cement the game with several key blocks late.
“I have definitely improved my game,” he told SNY.tv. “I am a much better rebounder, and shot blocker, and my offense is improving as well.”
Walker and Holmes County next play in the state 1A championship Wednesday against a West Gadsden team that took down Union County, 75-51.
“You really have to make him earn it on the glass and go up strong for every rebound,” Hawthorne coach Greg Bowie said. “You cannot give him free blocks either, which is what we did. “He’s a very good player and a very good shot blocker.”
Walker’s athletic ceiling is high, but Holmes County coach Poe White thinks that his success in college depends on how much work he’s willing to do this offseason.
“It really depends on him, how hard he works this summer, “ said White. “He definitely has to get in the weight room, and work on some other skills he has. If he works, it’s all up to him. But he will definitely be on the court next year.”
Walker was named both the McDonald’s All-American Game and the Jordan Brand Classic. He will team will future Florida teammate Kasey Hill on the East squad in both events.
That, in turn, will give the nation and the players themselves a glimpse of the damage they can cause next season.
“We’re going to come in next year,” he said, “work hard and earn the best record we can.”
In the meantime, he’s got one thing on his mind.
“I could not get into a rhythm early, and I was missing shots that I usually make,” he said of his play Tuesday. “I need to come out better in the next game if we want to win a state championship.”
Photo: 247 Sports