What CJ Walker's Commitment Means For Ohio State Basketball

By James Grega on April 8, 2018 at 7:06 pm
CJ Walker
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State was desperate to add a point guard to its roster in its first full offseason of the Chris Holtmann era. 

While CJ Walker won't be eligible to play immediately in Columbus, his commitment to the Buckeyes after transferring from Florida State was a large step for Holtmann as he continues to build a successful program at Ohio State. 

Walker announced his transfer to Ohio State on Sunday afternoon via his Twitter page after declaring on March 27 that he would be transferring away from Florida State. He took a visit to Columbus this weekend. 

Let's take a look at what Walker might bring to the court for the Buckeyes when he becomes eligible in 2019. 

On The Court

As a sophomore in 2017-18, Walker started all but one of Florida State's 35 games, helping lead the Seminoles to an Elite Eight appearance in the NCAA Tournament before falling to Michigan. He averaged 8.0 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. 

Walker, a left-handed shooter, stands 6-foot-1, 195 pounds and has an average outside jumper, as he shot 35.5 percent from long range for the Seminoles in 2017-18. He has a quick first step off the dribble and has shown a proven ability to get into the lane on a consistent basis. He has struggled, however, to convert on some of those attempts inside amongst the big men. 

He improved his free throw shooting percentage from 65.5 percent as a freshman to 73.2 this past season, and demonstrated an ability to play consistent on-ball defense as a sophomore, collecting one steal per contest. 

Walker isn't going to blow people away with his scoring ability, but he does have the quickness to create shots off the dribble and collapse defenses in the paint, which can create open shots for others or give Walker point-blank layup opportunities. 

In The Class

As for how he fits into Ohio State's plans moving forward, Walker will likely step in as the starting point guard in 2019-2020 with two years of eligibility remaining. He is currently the lone commitment in the 2019 class, though the Buckeyes have their eye on a number of premier in-state targets in that cycle, including Ohio's top prospect in forward Alonzo Gaffney

He likely takes the place Ohio State had hoped would be for Pickerington, Ohio native and four-star guard Jeremiah Francis, who committed to North Carolina last August.

By the time Walker becomes eligible, he will join a young core that includes 2018 signees Luther Muhammad, Justin Ahrens, Jaedon LeDee and Duane Washington, Jr., a class that currently ranks No. 23 in the nation. Rounding out that 2019 squad will be the final holdovers from the Thad Matta era, as Micah Potter and Andre Wesson will be seniors when Walker steps onto the floor as a Buckeye. In addition, Kaleb Wesson, Musa Jallow and Kyle Young will be entering their junior seasons, assuming none leave early to pursue professional careers. 

The Intangibles 

Before he was a Seminole, Walker was a four-star prospect out of Indianapolis and was the No. 24 overall point guard in the 2016 class, according to 247Sports. He chose the Seminoles over Illinois and Butler, where Holtmann was then entering his second year as the Bulldogs' head coach. Prior to committing to Florida State, Walker had been a soft Purdue commit.

While he hasn't said it publicly, it appears part of the reason for his transfer out of Florida State was due to the emergence of freshman guard Trent Forrest, who began to absorb some of Walker's minutes as the season went on. Walker saw his playing time diminish greatly at the end of the season, as he played less than 20 minutes in six of the Seminoles' final eight games. 

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