TALLAHASSEE, Fla (seminoles.com) – Florida State freshman guard M.J. Walker, a consensus top-25 high school player in 2017, has been named to the 2018 Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year award watch list by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Walker averaged 27.8 points and 6.5 rebounds as a senior at Jonesboro (Ga.) High School and became the 12th McDonald’s All-American in Florida State history when he signed to play for Seminole head coach Leonard Hamilton in May of 2017.
Walker (Jonesboro, Ga.) is one of two true freshmen and one of five players from the ACC on the 2018 Jerry West Award watch list.
As a prep senior, Walker was ranked as the No. 8 overall prep prospect and the No. 1 shooting guard by ESPN.com. He competed in the 2017 McDonald’s All-American game, the Nike Hoops Summit and the Allen Iverson Roundball Classic following his senior season at Jonesboro. Walker was a featured player as a member of the winning West squad at the McDonald’s All-American game.
Walker graduated from Jonesboro High School in 2017. He was named the 6A Player of the Year in the State of Georgia by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a senior. Walker led Jonesboro to a 23-6 overall record as a senior. He earned USA Today All-USA Second-Team in 2016 and led Jonesboro to its first-ever state championships as a freshman and as a sophomore.
Walker was a member of the 2017 U.S. Junior Select Team at the Nike Hoop Summit where he helped the U.S. to a 98-87 victory over the World Team. He also helped the United States win a gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship during the Summer of 2016.
The award is named for the great Jerry West who averaged 24.8 points and 13.3 rebounds in three seasons at West Virginia. He led the Mountaineers to the NCAA Championship game in 1959 and was named as an All-American in both 1959 and 1960. He was the co-captain of 1960 gold medal winning U.S. men’s basketball team in the Olympics. West enjoyed a 14-year career in the NBA and was named to the All-NBA First team 10 times. He was named to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time team.
By mid-February, the watch list of 20 players for the 2018 Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award will be narrowed to just 10. In March, five finalists will be presented to Mr. West and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. The winner of the 2018 Jerry West Award will be presented at the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show presented by Wendy’s in Los Angeles, CA on Friday, April 6, 2018. Broadcast information will be released at a later date.
Previous winners of the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award include Malik Monk, Kentucky (2017), Buddy Hield, Oklahoma (2016) and D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State (2015).
2018 Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award Candidates
M.J. Walker, Fr., Florida State
Allonzo Trier, Jr., Arizona
Mustapha Heron, So., Auburn
Jerome Robinson, Jr., Boston College
TJ Haws, So., BYU
Marcus Foster, Sr., Creighton
Grayson Allen, Sr., Duke
KeVaughn Allen, Jr., Florida
Rob Gray, Sr., Houston
Malik Newman, So., Kansas
Hamidou Diallo, Fr., Kentucky
Lonnie Walker, Fr., Miami
Quinndary Weatherspoon, Jr., Mississippi State
E.C. Matthews, Sr., Rhode Island
Khadeen Carrington, Sr., Seton Hall
Shamorie Ponds. Sr., St. John’s
Tyus Battle, So., Syracuse,
Andrew Jones, So., Texas
De’Anthony Melton, So., USC
Daxter Miles, Jr., Sr., West Virginia