Jarace Walker, IMG
AP Photo/Gregory Payan

Is 5-Star Jarace Walker Poised to Skip College for NBA Draft?

Standing 6-foot-6 and weighing 220 pounds, Jarace Walker isn't your average high school sophomore.

The 16-year-old IMG Academy small forward is rising through the hoops world as quickly as he rises up for a highlight dunk.

Jarace Walker Highlights

Along with his sculpted physique, the five-star has skills that make him an imposing force on the basketball court. He can score from anywhere. His biggest strength is attacking the rim, where he normally finishes with sleek dunks, but can also finesse layups with either hand. The sophomore standout has a nice jump shot. It arcs high with clean rotation. He can shoot from three-point land and uses his driving ability to pull up in the mid-range.

Perhaps Walker's biggest strength is his basketball IQ. He doesn't play point guard, but he is conscious of passing lanes and delivers on-point assists. His handle permits him to lead fast breaks. He plays composed and under control.

On defense, Walker's lengthy wingspan and catcher's mitt hands form valuable blocking and rebounding assets. He has the athleticism to quickly recover and can affect perimeter shots that opponents think are open.

Jarace Walker Basketball Recruiting

Walker hails from New Freedom, Pennsylvania. He played for distinguished AAU programs in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas in his formative years. Following eighth grade, Walker wanted to transfer from his hometown school, Susquehannock, in favor of playing against elite competition. He eyed a few schools in Maryland before deciding on IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

Walker is the seventh-rated recruit in the 247Sports 2022 composite player rankings. His first scholarship offer came from Howard. He also has interest from Florida, Georgetown, LSU, Maryland, Villanova, Virginia Tech, and Kentucky. Fellow IMG classmate and teammate Brandon Huntley-Hatfield is projected to sign with John Calipari and the Wildcats. Walker also has experience in mini-camps with the Junior USA Basketball Team.

It's unclear where Walker is leaning, but as he further develops his game and grows even more physically, watch out. I wouldn't be surprised if he tested NBA waters from high school. It's expected 2022 is the first year the NBA will change the age minimum from 19 to 18 under a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Walker could jump to the league and follow the same route as number one-ranked 2022 player Emoni Bates.

It would be the first draft since 2005 players can be selected straight out of high school.

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