Published Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011 | 4:30 p.m.
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.
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.
For more on this story as it develops, stay tuned to lasvegassun.com/rebels.