REBELS BASKETBALL:

UNLV lands commitment from high-powered scoring guard Dantley Walker

5-foot-11 senior sharp-shooter from Lincoln County High will serve 2-year mission, join Rebels in 2013-14 season

Updated Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011 | 2 a.m.

Lon Kruger still has one scholarship to give for next season, and four more to dole out to prospects in the 2012 class.

But, oddly enough, the 2013 recruiting haul continues to gain strength for UNLV.

Kruger and his staff on Tuesday got their second commitment for 2013, coming from Lincoln County High guard Dantley Walker. The news was confirmed by both Lincoln County coach Mike Wood and Anthony Brown, who is Walker's AAU coach with the Las Vegas Prospects.

Walker is a senior at the tiny 2A school in Panaca, located about 165 miles north of Las Vegas, but will head off on a two-year Mormon mission after graduating this spring. He'll be a freshman in the 2013-14 season if the commitment and all else holds.

The 5-foot-11 Walker has become a bit of an urban legend of late, scoring points at a ridiculous rate and in so many ways that he's drummed up comparisons to BYU star guard Jimmer Fredette.

"When I hear that Jimmer Fredette comparison, I start blushing — It's kind of crazy," Walker said. "I think we do have similar games. He's bigger than me, but we both shoot well. I don't know if I'm at his level, but we're similar, I think."

But, for a couple of reasons, Walker hadn't drawn a Division-I scholarship offer until Tuesday, when Kruger delivered.

"I think the issues people had with him are that he's only 5-foot-10 and we play small school-level basketball, which is understandable," Wood said. "But I've been watching this level of basketball for 30 years, and there's never been anyone like this kid. He's unreal."

Those in Las Vegas who want to see for themselves can head to Durango High on Friday at 8 p.m., when Lincoln High takes on Agassi Prep in the 2A state playoffs.

Oddly enough, it was against Agassi Prep just two weeks ago when Walker recorded what is believed to be the highest single-game point total in the nation this season.

In a 101-86 win, he scored 73 points, with 67 of them coming after the first quarter.

The comparisons to Fredette largely stem from the range on Walker's outside shot, which extends out to and beyond 30 feet. Wood said that opposing teams hardly ever allow Walker to shoot standard 3-pointers anymore.

"We played in Las Vegas against Lake Mead Christian recently, he had 10 threes, and I bet six of them were from beyond the volleyball spike line that you see on a high school court," Wood recalled. "He can probably pass better than he can shoot. His ball-handling is off of the charts."

On top of averaging 35 points per game, Walker is handing out 10.5 assists an outing as a senior.

"Basically, I would describe him as an old-school basketball player," Wood added. "He shoots every day for three or four hours since he was in the seventh grade. He takes 1,000 jump shots a day, and not just standard shots, but they come in drills.

"This boy can flat-out shoot. He'll shoot them from eight or 10 feet behind the arc."

Kruger traveled to Needles two weeks ago to watch Walker play, and simply beat his peers to the punch on extending a scholarship offer. Others who had shown interest but not yet offered included BYU and Utah State.

Wood said he believes that the two years away from competition will do Walker some good physically, as he could use about another 10 or 15 pounds on his frame to help him compete at the D-I level. Walker currently plays at between 155 and 160 pounds.

"I know that on my mission, I'll be able to work out some," Walker said. "I'll stay in pretty good shape. It's going to be tough, but I think I'll be OK.

"I wish I was playing (next year), but I'm at peace with it and I think it's the right decision. I think it will benefit me in the long run."

Walker's commitment seems set in stone, as he considers UNLV as his dream school. Both of his parents went to UNLV, and he said he's been a huge Rebels fan for years now, citing Wink Adams as his favorite former player.

He joins Findlay Prep sophomore point guard Nigel Williams-Goss as commits for the class of 2013. Williams-Goss gave his pledge to Kruger back in December.

As for the 2011 scholarship still available, it's unclear which direction the UNLV staff will go in.

6-foot-11 center Henry Buckley, who committed to the Rebels two years ago as a high school senior, was finally cleared academically by the NCAA last week. Buckley then attended prep school for a year, and is playing and training at Impact Academy just off of the Strip this season, but it appears the chances are slim that he'll ultimately join the program.

The staff isn't pursuing any other high school seniors at the moment, and instead could always welcome in a transfer over the summer to fill the spot or hold it over as a fifth scholarship to give out in the 2012 class. Set to join the roster next fall are Notre Dame (Mass.) Prep forward Grandy Glaze, UCLA transfer Mike Moser and Marquette transfer Reggie Smith. Moser will be eligible as a sophomore at the start of the 2011-12 season, while Smith will have 2.5 seasons to play starting after the conclusion of the fall semester.

UNLV's top 2012 targets are mostly locals, including forward Anthony Bennett at Findlay and the Bishop Gorman trio of Rosco Allen, Ben Carter and Shabazz Muhammad.

For more on this story as it develops, stay tuned to lasvegassun.com/rebels.

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  1. Sounds like fun. We could sure use someone compared to Fredette.

  2. Gonna need this kid after the performance against AF tonight.

  3. How does that sit bringing in two point guards the same year?

  4. @Run-nRebels

    Oh this kid was brought in to play the 4... No reason to use him where he is supposed to play...

    But on a serious note, this get is very intriguing... His dad is like 6'5 so and supposedly grew a bit after high school... So this kid could add a few inches in the next couple years...

  5. Hey Ryan, doiesn't Smith have 3.5 years of eligibility left?
    I think this is a great find. I don't care what level you are playing at. If you can put up 73 points, with a large amount coming from 30 ft jumpers, you're OK with me.

  6. This kid is a baller, and shoots lights out. Should be a fun player to cheer for. His dad is closer to 6' 2", but his uncle is about 6'5". It wouldn't surprise me if Dantley grows another 2 inches before he's done. But if not, this kid belongs regardless. Great get for Kruger.

  7. I hate to bring up the perennial "next year" team... but wow... this kid sounds like EXACTLY what this team has lacked in Mountain West Conference play, a pure shooter.

    This is perfect news following a disappointing loss to SDSU and a terrible showing against AF.

  8. Bit of a reach in my opinion. He will help him from a shooting perspective, but definitely question marks. The apparent mission will give him time to potenitially change his mind, questionable defensive/athletic abililty and the obvious question about competition level. Time will tell, but my gut tells me he will be closer to Kendall Wallace than Fredette.

    It is interesting that on the day this youngman verbals Bill Self is in town primed to poach the area's best player. Another example the program has a long way to go to get back into the big time.

  9. David, it's 2.5 years for Smith because of weird NCAA rules. Basically lost a year by leaving mid-season after having played. The reason Carlino gets 3.5 at BYU is because he never played in a game at UCLA.

  10. So if Smith would have stayed the entire year and played throughout, he would get 3 full years? That doesn't make any sense!

  11. Ryan- that makes no sense. Agree with htownreb.

  12. Video of this kid shooting. Looks like he can play inside and definately has a nice outside shot with some distance: http://www.deseretnews.com/video/2005/Da...

  13. To be fair, that video has the worst defense I have ever seen. Even for high school. Those looked like middle schoolers. There's no question the kid can shoot, but I can see how you can average 35 a game.

  14. LOL. Video reminds me of Robbie Benson in the 70's hit One on One.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkqjjHDEt...

  15. Jeremy, thanks for the video. That was downright embarrassing and laughable. What is that the 5'9" and under league. What a joke.

  16. I might lean more toward the Fredette side than to Wallace. He reminds me of Fredette the way he drives and hangs in the air to get off a shot. They're kind of ugly inside shots - like Fredette's, but they go in - like Fredette's.

    Besides, any 5'10" guy that scores 73 in ANY game is someone that can play. I like the pick up! Good choice Dantley!

  17. Hey, don't blame me. Blame the NCAA. I agree the rule is completely dumb. Yes, if he would have stayed all season, he'd have had three years to play. Or if he sat all of next season, he could have three starting in 2012-13.

  18. While I agree that the teams he was up against in the video seem... well, laughable, I'm pretty sure I read he also played for a couple of AAU teams, including the Las Vegas Prospects and was putting up good numbers there too. I'd like to see his overall stats and shooting percentages if they are available.

    In another article, I read that both he and his family were open to him redshirting upon his arrival at UNLV, if that's what the coaches thought was best.

    Sounds like a kid who really wants to play at the next level and is willing to whatever it takes, including spending hours a day practicing to get there. It also doesn't sound like he'll be having any 'off the court' issues either.

    Besides, I don't think Kruger would hand out a scholarship to just anyone, regardless of what the naysayers here like to think from time to time.

    Let's just hope he's been dribbling down dimly lit church hallways and playing in prison leagues like the guy their comparing him to did. LOL.

  19. Just for some info on that video. All of those highlights are last season, which was Dantley's junior year of high school. And the last 15 or 20 seconds were against 4A Desert Oasis. I would like to see some of his senior year highlights to see if he has gotten more athletic. I don't think anyone is saying he is going to score 35 points a game for UNLV, but the kid can shoot and you can never have too many shooters.

  20. It's good that he has his head on straight. It seems that so many player get pampered at the high school level and need to be taught the work ethic necessary to exceed at this level. It took Jimmer 4 years to become the player he is now, I can see this kid having a similiar path, of course not expecting national POY!

  21. The kid was starting to garner some interest from Syracuse, so he obviously can play.

  22. I'll take ANYONE that can shoot. And I have a gut feeling that by the time this kid gets to school, he will be about 6'2".

  23. What many don't realize is that he leads the WHOLE NATION this season in Points scored=1000+. 3 pointers hit =150, and is also the best free throw shooter in the nation at 90% and he's shot over 260 fts this season. He's top 10 in the nation too in assists at 10.5 per game. He played for Vegas's best AAU team for 2.5 seasons with the Prospects. Then played for the Utah Select last summer since he thought he'd be playing for a Utah College. He tore it up for both teams. UNLV cannot shoot 3's or shoot period. This kid will really help them in two years. The Rebs are putting together a great team for the future-that will be able to score and shoot now-and Kruger stole this kid before the Utah schools snatched him up. Futures looking bright!

  24. He just in case you read this Dantley. Just know that real Mormons are Rebels. On my mission I was the only one there with a rebel jersey (that my mom sent me) and I wore it every p-day. Dont let those Utards talk you out of the best school in the world. Salt Lake City was not the only city founded by Mormons, Las Vegas was founded by Mormons too.

  25. All the UNLV fans will absolutley love this kid. And the Las Vegas Mormons will have a little extra fun watching Dantley light it up for UNLV instead of the typical Utah schools. I'm LDS with plenty of BYU and Utah St. friends, but UNLV is what I love most (by far)! Go Rebels!!

  26. Check this kid out...

    Durango High 8PM... Playing Agassi Prep...

  27. Two years ago, little did anybody know that Dave Rice would become head coach and land Anthony Bennett, Katin Reinhardt, Savon Goodman, Demetris Morant, Daquan Cook, Khem Birch, Roscoe Smith, and Bryce Dejean-Jones in his FIRST recruiting class.

    As of February 2013, Dantley Walker is an afterthought.