Tennessee is recruiting at a level not previously seen in men’s basketball right now under Rick Barnes. Not only did he sign a four-star power forward in the 2018 class in DJ Burns, but he and his staff also signed five-star guard Josiah James in the 2019 class and will welcome him in over the summer. The Vols also got a commitment from five-star small forward Corey Walker in the 2020 class, and he’s turning the heads of national analysts.
Walker is a 6-foot-6 small forward from Jacksonville, Florida who committed to the Vols back in March. At the time, he was viewed as a player who already had a lot of athleticism and potential but still needed a little work to fully realize his full skill set. Now, it looks like he’s starting to come into his own.
Corey Evans is a national analyst for Rivals.com, and he was in attendance to see Walker perform during the AAU circuit. While there, Evans said he was “blown away” by Walker’s “throwback” style of play and says he believes Walker could be a giant mismatch in college.
Blown away by the throwback game of Corey Walker. He’s figured out what he is. Where Tennessee might have landed one of the more polished mismatches last year with Josiah James, looks like Rick Barnes did it again with Walker
— Corey Evans (@coreyevans_10) April 20, 2019
That’s not all that Evans had to say about Walker, though.
In an article dissecting what he saw from The Tipoff Classic, Evans raved about Walker’s style of play, saying he could become a “household name” at Tennessee.
“Corey Walker is a complete throwback,” Evans wrote. “Who uses the backboard anymore? Walker does, but besides his angle playing abilities from 15-feet and in, what was even more impressive was his point-forward capabilities in Atlanta. Already committed to Tennessee, Walker might be the king on the chess board for Rick Barnes. His skillset should transition seamlessly to UT and with it, become a household name within the sport immediately upon his enrollment.”
Walker is rated by 247Sports as a five-star and the No. 23 overall prospect in the 2020 class. The composite rankings have him right outside of the five-star range, placing him 31st overall in the 2020 cycle. Walker has scholarship offers from Arizona, Georgetown, Auburn, Florida, Baylor, Maryland, Memphis, Mississippi State, Georgia, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, Xavier, and many other programs.
The 6-foot-6 forward is a versatile player who stands out both on offense and defense. He can score in a variety of ways and is very gifted both as a ball-handler and as an attacker to the basket. He has good quickness and awareness, and he gives exceptional defensive effort. He’s difficult to defend and has very long arms, making it easy for him to rip down rebounds and get angles for shots that others can’t.
Walker still has some growth to do, but as Evans said in his analysis, it looks like the young five-star has discovered the style of game that fits his skill set the best.
Tennessee is in on some other highly-rated prospects in the 2020 cycle who they hope will become future teammates with Walker. Five-star guard Jaden Springer, five-star center Walker Kessler, No. 1 in-state player and four-star guard Keon Johnson, four-star forward PJ Hall, and four-star guard Keon Ambrose are just some of the recruits the Vols have a legit shot at landing in the 2020 class.