By LARRY VAUGHT
PADUCAH — About a month ago sophomore Kyree Walker was in Kentucky to play in the Marshall County Hoopfest. He had 27 points — and was 15 of 18 at the foul line — in an 87-77 win over Victory Rock Prep and then had 32 points in a 67-58 loss to St. Benedicts.
The 6-4 Walker is back in Kentucky with his Hillcrest (Ariz.) Prep teammates to play two games in the McCracken County Mustang Madness. They are slated to face Orangeville Prep out of Canada at 10 p.m. CST Friday and then play Aspire Academy of Louisville Saturday at 4:45 p.m. CST.
Walker is considered a top five player in the 2020 recruiting class and the top point guard in the class. He verbally committed to coach Bobby Hurley and Arizona State in June.
“It is an exciting thing for me coming back to Kentucky and we will a couple more times, too (this season). I am very excited. A lot of people come to the games for support and you sign autographs, take pictures. It is a great environment,” Walker said. “I like being out here. It’s cold, but other than that I like being here. It’s just playing basketball, so I am happy to be here.”
He took part in a brief 3-point shooting contest Thursday night as part of The Grind Session. Tonight and Saturday he’ll showcase his full arsenal, including his physical play that is difficult for most players to match.
Walker says he’s playing better now than he was in early December. He recently had 27 points against University School in the John Wall Holiday Invitational.
“I have been doing a lot of little things to get my game right. I have been conditioning and I will beat a lot of people up and down the court tomorrow,” Walker said Thursday night. “I will definitely be ready.”
Walker was the MaxPreps National Freshman of the Year last season when he averaged 21.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game for Hayward (Calif.) Moreau Catholic before transferring to Hillcrest Prep this season.
He believes he’s a much better player this year.
“I really getting my team involved. A lot of people see me as a scorer but I like getting my team involved. I am really a point guard. Sometimes you have to change your game, so you have to be versatile and I am when I play,” Walker said.
What about weaknesses?
“I miss a lot of free throws. That can get better, my pull-up jumper can be better. There’s a lot of little things that I have to work on every day but that’s what makes it fun,” Walker said.