Walters signs with Jimmie men's basketball
Monday was a good day for Jamestown hoops.
Local high school standout Mason Walters became the latest addition to sign on the dotted line for University of Jamestown men's basketball and head coach Danny Neville. The 6-foot-6 Walters, who will be a senior at Jamestown High School when classes fire up this Thursday, earned Class A second team all-state accolades after averaging 16.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game last season for the Blue Jays.
Walters' commitment came six days after Neville and the Jimmies lured in Mandan High School standout point guard Trey Wiest, who'll also play his senior season this winter for the Braves. Neville explained the sky's the limit for Walters' potential in orange and black, a journey that will begin with Wiest, the son of former UJ women's basketball coach and current Mandan High School activities director Mark Wiest, in the winter of 2019-20.
"Mason just does things that a lot of kids his height can't do," Neville said. "He's got great feet, good hands, he's smart and he can shoot.
"Mason has the potential to play right away and I think he could have a really, really great career here at Jamestown."
Walters' college stock soared last winter, as he helped lead the Blue Jays to 12 wins and a Class A state tournament berth behind 62-percent shooting from the field and 28 blocked shots. The 17 year old said he also had offers on the table from both NCAA Division II Minot State University and Valley City State University, and garnered attention from Concordia College (Minn.) and Minnesota State University Moorhead as well.
"I just felt that UJ was the best fit for me," Walters said. "Just how nice (Harold Newman Arena) is and their brand new weight room, and I can still be close enough to home to be with my brothers and my family."
The signing completed what must have felt like a whirlwind past year or so for Walters, who grew into his own after missing the entire 2017 summer AAU basketball season due to a broken leg sustained during the high school track season.
"I never thought (playing collegiately) would really happen," Walters said. "With the injury and everything, most coaches were after me this summer and it was kinda late in the process."
But Neville said he was relentless in his pursuit, recruiting Walters at AAU events this summer as he competed with the ECI 17U Prospects coached by Lucas Moorman. Reeling in local talent is a boon for any college or university.
"We went to so many AAU games I felt like I was an assistant coach on his team," Neville joked. "We wanted that hometown kid and he comes from a great family, which was a big part of it, too. It's just a great fit overall for both sides."
Walters' parents are Marty and Amy Walters of Jamestown. His brothers are Jackson (13) and Edison (9). The Jimmies played to a record of 20-10 last winter and will be looking to replace three key seniors, including 6-6 forward Leighton Sampson, as they enter year 1 as members of the Great Plains Athletic Conference.
"I wanted to get this done for sure before (the high school) season started," Walters said. "I can't wait. It's going to be fun."