Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Lonnie Walker, the 6-foot-5 wing from Reading (PA) and the Team Final AAU program, committed to Miami in a bit of a surprise on Wednesday, the last day of the NCAA early signing period.
Ranked the No. 3 shooting guard in the Class of 2017 by 247Sports.com, he also considered Arizona, Kentucky, Villanova and Syracuse.
“I built a relationship with the coach [Jim Larrañaga] and being able to know him I felt like they were going to push and drive me like no other,” Walker told ZAGSBLOG.
Walker joins point guard Chris Lykes and power forwards Deng Gak and Sam Waardenburg in what is shaping up to be a special class for Miami.
“We’re gonna make big-time noise,” the 6-10 Gak, whose PSA Cardinals team lost to Walker’s Team Final on the Nike EYBL circuit, told ZAGSBLOG.
As for his skillset, Walker said, “[I’m] a scorer. I will bring energy on offense and defense and be able to bring my team together and [play] better.”
Reading coach Rick Perez said Miami is getting a player with a big upside going forward.
“Lonnie has just recently begun to scratch the surface and embrace who and what he is becoming,” Perez told ZAGSBLOG. “He has nurtured the process strategically and with patience, therefore displaying significant growth and progress in all areas. He has taken on his responsibility with his family, community, school and team beautifully, it’s been awesome to observe. Moving to the bigger stage, it will be amazing to see the leaps and bounds, because he always rises to the challenge.
“Ultimately Lonnie is a better person than basketball player,” Perez added. “This is the basis to all the decisions he makes. The U did a wonderful job establishing the level of sincerity and trust necessary to get Lonnie. Congrats to Lonnie, his family, the U, Reading and everyone else involved.”
Said Team Final coach Aaron Burt: “Lonnie is freakish athlete who loves to compete. He can score at all levels and is a great passer. People may not know that because he scores it so easily. To quote Clarke Kellogg, he has spurt ability to go on scoring runs. He has the tools to be a lockdown defender on the next level. He’s a sponge and will soak up everything he needs to be a better player.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.