As Andre Walker drew interest from Division I basketball programs across the nation during the past four years, he wasn’t necessarily awestruck by the big-name coaches or concerned with which school had the most championships. Sure, chatting with Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon was cool as was entertaining overtures from schools such as Cincinnati, George Mason and Temple, but that wasn’t what excited the Bullis center about the recruiting process.
“With no one in the last four generations of my family going to college, I didn’t always think college would be an option for me,” Walker said. “And I didn’t think I was good enough to play until ninth grade. So just having the opportunity to go and play basketball, too, was huge for me.”
This past Saturday marked a historic moment for the Walker family, as Andre committed to play basketball at Hofstra. The 6-foot-10 senior shot blocker made his decision during an official visit to the New York-based campus, where next year he is expected to join former Paul VI standout Jamall Robinson, who is currently a freshman.
Walker, who has stood 6-foot-10 since his freshman year at Clarksburg in 2009, can protect the paint with his long arms and is developing into a strong rebounder with a soft shooting touch around the rim.
“Andre is a player and Hofstra is perfect for him because they like to run and he will key their defensive system,” Bullis Coach Bruce Kelley said. “Hofstra will do what they do and he can anchor their press and attack defensively.”
Along with overcoming the lack of a college pedigree in his family, Walker’s journey to becoming a Division I prospect also included transferring from Clarksburg to Bullis in 2011 and sitting out the 2011-12 season to focus on his academics and reclassify as a sophomore, giving him two years of eligibility at Bullis.
In his first season with the Bulldogs last year, Walker averaged seven points per game and played a key role in Bullis capturing its second straight IAC title and first undefeated run through the IAC schedule.
Walker, who hopes to add more weight to his 225-pound frame, said he was impressed by Hofstra’s practice over the weekend, pointing out that Coach Joe Mihalich always has his players moving on offense — a notion that should bode well for an athletic center like Walker.
Though the senior admits that some might be surprised by his choice of a mid-major school such as Hofstra after having schools like Maryland and Xavier showing interest early in his recruitment, Walker is confident he found the best fit for him.
“It’s a great sense of relief to be in this position and I’m happy with my decision,” Walker said. “Some people may say I could do better, but this was never about publicity or the biggest name school. It was about doing what I had to do to be the first in my family to get to college and find the place where I would most grow as a player.”
NUMBER CRUNCH: +3
Erik Dulik’s score after the first two holes of Tuesday’s 4A North region golf tournament. The Dominion senior recovered with six birdies to win the individual title.
VIDEO OF THE DAY
Solomon Vault, the Gaithersburg senior running back and Northwestern commit, is on the verge of fully returning from a knee injury that nearly ended his season last month.
–Ballou offensive lineman Levon Livingston will take an unofficial visit to Penn State this weekend for its game against Michigan.
–Third-ranked Severna Park is off to another unbeaten start in boys’ soccer.
–Teams such as Broadneck, Centennial and Severna Park have upset the normal order within Maryland girls’ soccer this fall.
-Wilson, which has won 14 of the last 15 D.C. public school titles, is working to boost the volleyball culture within the District behind the efforts of Coach Perette Arrington.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
Briar Woods (12-1) at Tuscarora (Va.) (11-2), 7 p.m.
Dulles District rivals will face off on the volleyball court with both teams featuring strong outside hitters in Tuscarora’s Alexis Coombs and Briar Woods’ Lauren Twitty.