All it took was one start to envision Lonnie Walker IV becoming the second most talented hooper in Miami Hurricanes history.
Nobody’s ever going to sniff Rick Barry’s heels in Coral Gables, but this five-star freshman looked like a pro among amateurs last night, racking up 26 points, seven boards, a couple of assists, and five threes in 28 minutes of a 69-54 victory against Boston University.
Starting for the injured Bruce Brown, who many presume will join the freshman in the top half of the first round next June, Walker’s brilliance sourced from his precision.
Sinking nine of his 15 shots, including 5-of-7 from the three-point line and 3-of-3 from the stripe, the quick-twitch 6-foot-4 guard out of Pennsylvania shared the trait embodying all elite athletes: Effortless dominance.
Whether it was slithering through the lane at will or sniping from NBA range, Lonnie Walker looks like the one-and-done talents we’ve come to expect from Kentucky and Duke.
In fact, if you could guarantee Walker in a Heat jersey next season (they keep their pick if it’s in the Top 7), I’d blow up that squad yesterday. He’s that tantalizing of a talent, one whose offense figures to translate to the NBA with his ability to destroy a defense either via the dribble or from deep.
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) December 6, 2017
The timing couldn’t have been better for Hurricanes fans, who needed some healing after Saturday night’s 38-3 beatdown in the ACC Championship football game.
Coming off the bench until last night, Walker obviously has plenty to prove in the form of consistency, especially when ACC play opens in a couple of weeks and the talent level dramatically increases. Jim Larranaga’s has had some great teams here but they’ve yet to simultaneously field multiple elite talents like Walker and Brown, the latter having already proved his worth with a fantastic finish to his freshman campaign.
It’s not just a two-man show either. Second-year players Dewan Huell and Dejan Vasiljevic have come alive with their finishing and shooting, respectively, and freshman Chris Lykes is a menace off the bench.
The No. 10 Miami Hurricanes, oozing with talent after the addition of Lonnie Walker, have a legitimate chance of making their first Final Four appearance.