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.
Jordan Walker’s Stock Continues to Rise as The Patrick School Takes Out Roselle Catholic
UNION, N.J. — As an uncommitted senior point guard, Jordan Walker continues to see his stock rise in his final semester at The Patrick School.
The 5-foot-10 Walker put on his latest dazzling display Friday night when he went for a game-high 22 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists as The Patrick School handled rival Roselle Catholic, 83-65, in the Investors Classic at Kean University.
The matchup was the first of four possible games between the two schools this season, and a critical one for the Celtics (9-3), who are ranked No. 13 by USA Today and have a Tournament of Champions-or-bust mentality this season because their team features seven seniors, five of whom are signed to Division 1 schools.
Kentucky-bound big man Nick Richards added 14 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists, and Monmouth signee Marcus McClary tallied 13 points.
“It’s very important because we’re going to see them later on during the season and probably in [Union] Counties and maybe States again so it’s definitely a big game,” Walker said.
Temple-bound guard Nate Pierre-Louis led the Lions (9-4) with 25 points and uncommitted junior big man Naz Reid added 13 while battling Richards and the other Patrick School bigs.
A year ago, the rivals split four games with The Patrick School winning the Union County championship game in double-overtime, and the Lions taking the Non-Public B South final.
“Even though they lost a game the other day [to Linden], I still feel like they’re probably the favorites to win the whole thing,” RC coach Dave Boff said. “So we wanted to come out and see where we were and we found out that we’re going to have to get better if we want to beat them.”
The win capped a hectic, yet productive week for the Celtics, who began by beating another rival, St. Anthony’s, on Saturday at the Dan Finn Classic and then followed that up on Monday with a double-overtime win over Wendell Carterand Pace Academy (GA) at the Hoophall Classic in which Walker went for 15 points and 11 assists en route to MVP honors. The next night they played at Linden and lost while playing their third game in four nights.
“We all were beyond angry as a team,” Walker said. “But it was hard, playing game after game, especially those three games that we played. We played St. Ant’s, then we played Pace, then we gotta come back and play Linden at Linden, we were all really tired like coach said, our legs were dead. I felt like we could’ve found a way to get win, but we didn’t. We were really angry and we definitely wanted to redeem ourselves.”
In a game filled with Division 1 commits, Walker was the most dynamic player on the night. His speed and ability to change tempo proved critical in the Celtics’ win.
UConn, Seton Hall, Rutgers and St. John’s were all on hand for the night.
“The college coaches have been calling him and they’re all advising him to calm down, and he was very poised, probably the most poised he’s been since he’s been with us,” Celtics coach Chris Chavannes said. “They all advised him to calm down and play more under control and I think he did that for us tonight and did a good job for us.”
Said Boff: “They [have] a lot of good players. Jordan’s fantastic. He brings a unique skill set to the game. He can finish in traffic, he can shoot the pullup, he can shoot the three, he makes guys betters. He’s a great guard.”
On the recruiting front, Walker is still flirting with attending prep school next season but if he keeps playing like this he will have a broad array of high-majors from which to choose. In addition to schools like Seton Hall, which have been on him for some time, Indiana, Providence and Oklahoma are getting involved, with the latter two coming in next week to see him.
“It makes me feel decent and I’m more focused on the season right now than anything,” he said. “I mean, every kid loves getting colleges talking to them and stuff like that but right now I’m more focused on the season.”
Said Chavannes: “I’ve said it from Day 1, I’m not for the 2018 thing. He has very good grades, he’s got very good SAT scores. He’s shown he can play on a given night with anyone and there’s no reason for [him to prep].
“If we are successful throughout the year, I felt that his stock would rise and right now a lot of kids are signing and you gotta find the next best thing out there and he’s one of the better guards that’s available out there right now.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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.