Fresh out of his freshman season at Oregon and new to the transfer portal, CJ Walker is looking for a new place to call home. And according to his social media, he intends to find a program close to his hometown.
“As the coronavirus has tragically continued to spread across the country forcing our nation into lockdown it has given me a lot of time to think about my future and what’s in the best interest of my family and our health — both mentally and physically,” Walker said. “These past few months have been tough on everyone, and I understand this will be a long battle ahead. During this pandemic I’m also heavily dealing with ailing family members who are high-risk with underlying conditions living back in my hometown of Sanford, FL.
“I want to thank everyone at the University of Oregon — especially the fans for the support and the Coach Altman for the opportunity. I also want to thank the rest of the coaching staff, the team managers, the trainers, my professors, my academic advisers, and everyone on campus that made my year at Oregon so special. To my former teammates, you guys are my brothers — thank you for riding with me on this journey. I will forever cherish my growth as a basketball player, a student, and a person at the University of Oregon.
“There is so much uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, the upcoming season, and even if one will be played next year. I have decided the best decision I can make for both my mental and physical health is to return home to be close to my family and my support system, to continue to train and work at becoming the best person and basketball player I can be, to get back to a positive and healthy mindset, and to keep working towards my ultimate goal of becoming an NBA player one day. During this process I have decided to enter my name into the transfer portal to be able to properly weigh all options while this pandemic continues on. Stay safe & go Ducks.”
Walker, 19, was born in Queens, NY. but raised in Sanford, FL. The 6-foot-8 forward was ranked as a five-star recruit in the class of 2019 by ESPN, the No. 3 player in the Sunshine State and No. 23 prospect in the nation.
Known for his fierce athleticism, Walker played his senior campaign at Oak Ridge High School, averaging 15.8 points, 13.8 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per contest. His impressive campaign earned him Class 9A Player of the Year and Florida Dairy Farmers Mr. Basketball runner-up honors. In addition, Walker was selected to play in the Jordan Brand Classic Game.
The highly touted recruit ultimately chose Dana Altman’s Oregon Ducks over the Miami Hurricanes and LSU Tigers, who he had in his ‘Final 3’.
Playing in 28 games (seven starts) at Oregon, Walker notched 4.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per game, including an impressive season-high 18 point performance in a winning effort versus Hawaii.
With the news of Walker’s intentions to move to a school close to home, Jim Larranaga and his staff won’t do any wrong in potentially bringing him in. 52.2 percent of Crystal Ball predictions prior to Walker’s commitment all leaned towards the Hurricanes, hinting that the relationship between him and Miami was close.
Walkers future could be something to watch out for this summer.