Prospect Corner: C.J. Walker

credit: Jon Lopez/Nike
CJ Walker is next in a long line of “Unicorn” athletes in the next generation of basketball. He is 6’8 190 and can jump out the gym. His moves to the basket are swift, finishing with explosive powerful. He has a long range jumper, a deadly fade away, a cross-over that finishes with a dunk and a consistent mid-range game. If you watch him play there's one guy that comes to my mind: Tracy McGrady.

Walker plays for Oak Ridge high school in Orlando, Florida. He committed to the Oregon Ducks from the class of 2019. He is ranked 30th in the nation by 247 sports and 29th in the nation by Rivals. He is rated as a 5-star prospect and is ranked as the 24th prospect in the 2021 NBA draft class by NBA Draft Room. We talked about the impact he brings to an NBA team and why he chose Oregon.

LJ: You have great athleticism. What type of impact do you feel you would bring to an NBA team day one?
CJ: Being able to defend multiple positions. Do whatever it takes for my team to be successful.

LJ: Why did you commit to Oregon? What stands out about the Ducks?
CJ: Oregon had a plan for me starting day 1 when I arrived to campus in June. They were very detailed with their plan.

LJ: What has been your best game this season? What were your stats that game?
CJ: Best game was probably when I went for 32 points 16 rebounds and 5 blocks but most importantly we got the win.

LJ: What did you average last season?
CJ: 13ppg 10.1 rbg and 2.8 bpg.

LJ: What top prospects have been the most competitive you have played against?
CJ: Precious Achiuwa no doubt he brings out the best in me.

LJ: What NBA player do you feel resembles your skills the most?
CJ: A lil bit of Jayson Tatum and Kevin Knox

LJ: What makes you an impact prospect?
CJ: My motor and versatility.

LJ: As a teammate what will an NBA team like about you?
CJ: People person, always willing to help others, love being in the community.

LJ: What struggles did you have to overcome to get to where you are? How was it growing up in Orlando?
CJ: Actually I’m from Sanford, FL which is like 20 mins from Orlando. It’s easy to do wrong and go left in Sanford I’m faced with crime, drugs and fast money every day but there also positives in Sanford too I’m just trying to be a positive role model to the young generation.

LJ: How are your parents an influence in your life? Being an elite player and dealing with so much attention, how have they helped you?
CJ: My parents are my world. They built the foundation in me and that foundation is what people see today I’m a reflection of them.

LJ: If you could pick an NBA team to play for what team would you pick?
CJ: Any team that would take a chance on me.

LJ: What NBA player would you like to play one on one?
CJ: LeBron and Antonio Blakeney

LJ: Why are you a 5-star?
CJ: Because of my work ethic and finally showing my potential and I’m not even done yet being a complete package, still have ways to go.

LJ: How do you feel you make a team better?
CJ: Just by doing the dirty work. I actually love taking charges.

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See the full 2021 NBA Mock Draft

1 on 1 with Johnny Juzang

Johnny Juzang is an elite and dangerous shooter, but he is not just that. Juzang is 6-7, 200 and very versatile. He can play positions one through three, on both sides of the ball. He has a great basketball IQ which allows him to be a good distributor and play-maker.

Johnny is the 22nd ranked prospect in the 2020 basketball recruiting class by 247 sports, 19th by Rivals, and 19th by ESPN. He is rated a 5-star by all three and is the 15th ranked NBA prospect in the 2021 NBA draft class by NBA Draft Room.

Halfway through his Jr. year he has career high school averages of 19.3 points 8.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists. He has career shooting percentages of 43 percent from the field, 36 percent from long range and 79 percent from the free throw line. Juzang talked with me about family and his NBA future for NBA Draft Room.

LJ: What NBA player do you resemble your game after?
Johnny: It’s really players and I would have to say Klay Thompson, James Harden, and Kobe Bryant.

LJ: What is the most impactful part of your game?
Johnny: My ability to score.

LJ: What NBA team would you like to play for If you could pick a team?
Johnny: I would have to say the Lakers me being from here and being a fan but I would also have to say the Rockets. I have become a fan of James Harden so the Rockets too.

LJ: Evan Mobley is a part of that talented 2021 draft class. How long have you been knowing him?
Johnny: I have been knowing Evan since middle school.

LJ: Where did you grow up?
Johnny: Tarzana, CA.

LJ: How is it growing up in Tarzana?
Johnny: It’s cool; of course it’s a little town and doesn’t have as much as the big cities but it’s cool.

LJ: Your dad Maxie is a cool guy. How is the support of your parents and how important is it.
Johnny: It’s everything from my mom packing my lunches to my dad supporting me through whatever, it means everything.

LJ: What is your nationality?
Johnny: Vietnamese and black

LJ: In the NBA, the game is mostly mental. What would an NBA team like about your character?
Johnny: I would be easy to get along with. I feel that you work hard to get here why would you mess that up.

LJ: What about your game has improved from last season?
Johnny: My ability to be much more of a leader and my all-around skills.

LJ: What does Johnny Juzang bring to an NBA team?
Johnny: Immediate scoring impact from all three levels. Ability to space the floor as well as create. Also leadership and communication.

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1 on 1 with R.J. Hampton

If you talk gamers you're talking R.J. Hampton. At 6-4 170 R.J. gives you an impact guard on both sides of the floor. On offense, he has the handles to embarrass any defender; Hampton has the ability to do what he wants to defenders when the ball is in his hands. He has the smoothest all-around offensive game in his class and is only going to get better; yea I said he is going to get better.

R.J. is ranked as the number one prospect in Texas and number one combo guard and fifth ranked overall prospect in the 2020 basketball recruiting class by 247 sports. He is a dangerous addition to any offense at both guard positions but really R.J. Hampton only has one position and that is the position made famous by NBA Hall of Famer Allen Iverson: R.J. Hampton is a”Killa”. You want a winner that is R.J. Hampton. You want a leader that is R.J. Hampton. He spoke with me for NBA Draft Room about his NBA future and more.

LJ: What did you average this past season?
RJ: Last year I averaged 30 PPG, 8 Rebounds, and 6 Assist.

LJ: When did you notice your buzz as a basketball player start to take off?
RJ: I noticed my buzz take off as a player my freshman year at the Adidas Gauntlet when I scored 50 in front of the top coaches in the country.

LJ: What will NBA teams like about your character?
RJ: I feel like NBA teams will like that I always have a smile on my face, I’m always having fun. Also all my life I’ve been a We before me player, I just want to see my whole team eat.

LJ: What will stand out about you off the court?
RJ: I’m a fun guy, just like to chill with my teammates.

LJ: Do you want the ball in your hands at the end of games? Why?
RJ: Always, but not for the reason people might think. I want the ball in my hands in the end of the game to make a play, not only score. I live for that kind of stuff.

LJ: The Unicorn movement. Tell me how that started? How did you become a part of that?
RJ: Well, Jalen Green started Unicorn Fam, me and him are close so I joined and now it is where it is. The rest is history.

LJ: The name Unicorn carries weight. Will you all carry this movement to the pros?
RJ: Who knows, I’ll always be a unicorn but you never know what the future holds.

LJ: Who is all in the Unicorn Fam?
RJ: Jalen Suggs, Jalen Green, James Wiseman, Zion Harmon, and myself.

LJ: How close are you and fellow 2021 NBA top prospect Jalen Green?
RJ: We are really close, that’s family. Anything he needs I’ll be there for him and he’d do the same for me. Our parents are close. That’s my brother.

LJ: If you could choose the NBA team you could play for who would it be?
RJ: Well I’m a Laker and a Mavs fan, but I’ll be blessed to whatever team I will hopefully get drafted to.

LJ: You have an intense energy on the court. What is that fire that everyone sees?
RJ: I just hate to lose. Me being a point guard the game falls back on me. It’s just me wanting to win.

LJ: Tell me about Little Elm, Texas. What is it like? How was it growing up?
RJ: Little Elm is great. It’s a small town where everyone knows everyone. The town supports the basketball team like no other. I’m thankful to live and grow up in Little Elm.

LJ: Your dad is a good guy. What type of bond do you and your dad have? What has he taught you about the game of basketball?
RJ: I love my dad; he’s taught me so much about life and basketball. In basketball he’s taught me don’t make the game complicated, keep it simple and you’ll be fine. Also you have to play defense, no debate.

LJ: He talks about how strong your mother is? Talk about how she has been an influence in your life?
RJ: My mom is my world, I love her so much, and she’s never missed a game and barely even a practice or workout. That’s my rock!

LJ: What about your game allows you to make the most impact on the court?
RJ: I feel like my feel for the game makes me hard to guard. My IQ, when you can be smarter than your opponent makes the game a lot easier.

LJ: You are number three on the 2021 NBA draft board. Are you a one and done?
RJ: God has his own plan for me. But I’m going to work my butt off to get to the NBA because that is my main goal.

LJ: This 2020 recruiting class is supposed to put out some talented prospects for the 2021 NBA draft class. What makes you stand out?
RJ: What makes me stand out is I can do everything on the court, full game player.

LJ: What type of player does an NBA team get when they get RJ Hampton?
RJ: They get a fierce competitor, an all-around player that has the ability to score and pass at will!

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5-Star Corner: Patrick Baldwin Jr.

Photo Credit: 247sports
2021 5-star Patrick Baldwin Jr. is not just an elite prospect, he is a unicorn type talent at the young age of 15. Baldwin is the #1 ranked prospect in Wisconsin, #1 ranked small forward and #2 ranked prospect in the 2021 class by 247 sports. He is rated a 5-star by Rivals and ESPN who both have him as the #1 ranked prospect in the 2021 class. He plays for Hamilton high school in Sussex, Wisconsin and is 6-8 200.

Baldwin can score in many ways and is very creative with the ball in his hands. He has point guard skills with elite ball handling at 6-8 and has a deadly long range shot. He can post you up and dominate you inside and is fun to watch in the open court and as a play-maker, with one of the best basketball IQ’s in the country. Baldwin could be the number one pick in the 2022 NBA draft. I talked with him about the early attention he is getting in his recruitment plus what makes him stand out among the best prospects in the nation for 5-star corner.

LJ: What were your averages last season and in AAU?
Patrick: I think in high school I averaged 17 points, 6 boards and in AAU I averaged somewhere around 15 or 16.

LJ: In high school and AAU what were the stats of your best games?
Patrick: High school playing the number one team in the state at the time I had 37 points and 8 boards. Against NY Renaissance and I had 30 points and I made 8 3 pointers.

LJ: Do you have a dream offer?
Patrick: I used to but not really any more. Every school is an amazing opportunity in its own way.

LJ: Can you talk about your interest in Duke?
Patrick: Yeah, obviously you have a well-established power house in college basketball. There really isn’t anything you don’t like. Great coaches, great fans, good facilities, and great location on the east coast. It’s definitely an honor to be recruited by a school that offers so much as an athlete and a student not to mention the prestigious list of alumni.

LJ: Your hometown school Wisconsin. How did it feel to get that offer? What do you like about the Badgers program?
Patrick: Definitely a huge honor as well, like so many other schools they offer so many things that can benefit me on and off the court. It would be nice to play for the state that I would graduate school from.

LJ: UCLA has been a team that has really recruited well the last couple of classes. What do you think of the Bruins?
Patrick: UCLA is a great school really good guards have come out of that school and it definitely is a school that I will take a closer look at moving forward.

LJ: You are one of the top 10 prospects in high school regardless of class. You have the skills to be drafted number one overall When it’s your time. Have you thought about being a one and done?
Patrick: When the time comes when I have to make the decision I will assess all my strengths and weaknesses and whether or not I will be able to make the jump from college or if it’s beneficial to wait one more year.

LJ: What about your skill set makes you stand out. What would you offer to an NBA team as a ball player and a teammate?
Patrick: Right now my biggest asset might just be my versatility. Smaller guards or undersized forwards will really have a hard time as a mid-high post game is something I really work on. I believe I shoot the ball really well at this stage and I’ve been around basketball for so long with my dad being a D1 head coach that moment never gets too big and I will always try to make the best play possible.

LJ: You worked hard to get to this level and got a lot of room to grow, which is scary. What do you feel you need to work on the most to get to the level you want to be?
Patrick: Really right now my base is very strong so now I’m not pushed off balance like I was in the 8th grade and early freshman year. Improving my mobility, improving first step, and consistently working and perfecting basics like shooting and ball handling.

LJ: Who is your favorite Player in the NBA? Who resembles your game the most in the NBA?
Patrick: I believe that I am a product of many players. My two favorite players to watch right now and that I share some similarities with are Devin Booker and Jayson Tatum. Both of those guys are effective off the dribble, can play off the ball and on the ball sometimes. Overall they are just fun to watch.

LJ: You’re intelligent and understand the game at such a young age. Who gets the most credit for your knowledge of the game?
Patrick: Definitely my father. Just growing up and going to work every day with him when he was an assistant coach has really helped me a lot to grow mentally. Just being around high levels of basketball just provides me with a great understanding for basketball.

LJ: Do you have any upcoming visits?
Patrick: None yet

LJ: What’s the strength of your skill set that helps you make the most impact?
Patrick: Really my shooting and ability to create the best shot for my self is really what makes me most impactful. Whether that’s a quick lay up at the beginning to get going or great movement that allows me to drive a close-out or shoot over the top is really important. It’s really difficult to take a man 1 on 5 and score; I always try to find the best shot.

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