Bill Walker, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound freak of an athlete from North College Hill High School in Cincinnati, was one of the top players at the International Sports Invitational last week in San Diego. He played with the motivation of doing something that the country's best couldn't do: Winning a gold medal against the world's best competition. Walker succeeded.
Teenagers from China, Canada, Russia and even America went home from the event shaking their heads and no doubt spreading the word about Walker. He averaged 15.4 points and 4.8 rebounds. He was part of the team that dominated the field and brought home the gold.
"Everybody watched the American team take the bronze medal at the Olympics and our coaches pointed that out to us and wanted us to go for the gold ourselves," Walker said. "It was just like a test for me to play with new players after only meeting them for five days and see where I'm at with them. It was fun."
Walker is a must-see prospect as he travels the country for the individual camps and events with his talented D-1 Greyhounds program, featuring O.J. Mayo and other blue-chippers. At the Dirty South Classic in the Atlanta area, Walker knows he's getting everyone's best games.
"Expectations are higher," Walker said about the difference between this year and last year. "We are so used to being young and achieving things we weren't supposed to be achieving. Now people look at us that we did it and now we have to do it again. That's pretty much the hardest thing, living up to the hype."
He has the hype. Believe that. There isn't a more athletic player in high school basketball and he proves that in every city he stops in. College coaches are trying to convince the five-star prospect to bring his high-flying act to their towns.
"I really don't really worry too much about recruiting. I mean, I have conferences I like and certain schools I like," Walker said. "When I make a decision, I want to stay close to home next to my mom. That's 50 percent of it, the location. And there is academics. I want to accomplish something other than basketball with my life."
How far is too far for the high-flyer?
"Just a couple of states away probably, something close enough where I can come home and visit my mom," Walker said.
Pressing a little further, Walker yielded a short list of schools that are recruiting him the hardest early on.
"Cincinnati, Indiana, Illinois, Texas. There are a lot," Walker said. "Everybody is going hard."
They should. He's one of the most exciting players to play on the prep circuit in some time.