LeBron responds to tweet from HS recruit
December, 3, 2011
By Brian Windhorst | ESPN.com
Jay LaPrete/APLeBron James, a longtime Buckeyes supporter, offered recruiting advice to the nation's No. 5 junior Chris Walker. Walker asked James via Twitter to what college should he take his talents.
The subject was where to take one's talents. Chris Walker asked and LeBron James answered.
Walker is a 6-10 junior forward at Holmes County High School in Bonifay, Fla. He’s one of the top recruits in the 2013 class -- currently ranked No. 5 in the ESPNU60 -- who has the interest of many of the programs in the nation. He’s also a big James fan and thinks so much of him that Walker sent James a message on Twitter asking where he should go to college.
Apparently, it was a serious question.
“I’m a top 5 player in the country in class of 2013. Where should I go to college Mr. James?” Walker asked James on Twitter.
“If LeBron hits me back and tells me where he thinks I should go, I'd do it,” Walker told ESPN’s Jason Jordan in an interview this week. “In my opinion, he's the best player in the league and I really look up to him. Plus, he’s the king. Gotta listen to the king, right?”
When James heard about the request he offered some advice, and a few school suggestions.
"The advice I would give Chris Walker is to follow his heart and go where he believes he can help the program and they can give him a great education,” James told ESPN.com.
“Of course Ohio State and Kentucky are my two favorite programs for many reasons. They have great basketball programs, great coaches, players and are two of the best colleges in America. But with that said, Chris, you will know where you want to go when the time comes. I'm looking forward to seeing you make the decision and take your talents to that program and shine.”
This time, it seems, James is being politically correct on the "taking of the talents" issue. James has been a supporter of Ohio State's basketball team, which started wearing his Nike brand of uniforms and shoes four years ago. Earlier this week James cheered the Buckeyes on in their victory over Duke. Several years ago, Buckeyes coach Thad Matta made James an honorary alum of the program.
It’s possible that the Buckeyes might have the inside track. Over the summer, Walker said in several interviews that he was favoring Ohio State. Now James is nudging him, at least partially, in that direction as well.
Over the last two years, though, James has also developed a new relationship with Kentucky. Coach John Calipari has been close with James for years. One of James’ lifelong friends, Brandon Weems, is on Calipari’s staff. He’s attended several Kentucky games, practices and camps since Calipari arrived in Lexington.
Both Kentucky and Ohio State have been recruiting Walker, who has the size of a power forward but the athleticism of a small forward and is regarded as having huge potential once he adds some weight in the next few years. He’s also had offers from the likes of Florida, Kansas, Louisville, Connecticut, Memphis and Syracuse, to name a few.
“The whole recruiting process can be a little overwhelming at times,” Walker said. “So many great schools want me to come and play for them. It’s hard to decide.”
James is in a unique position when it comes to recruiting high school athletes. For the last five years, he has hosted the majority of the nation’s top high school players for Nike-sponsored camps in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. He’s gotten to know and offer advice to top players like Tyreke Evans, John Wall and Jared Sullinger before they made their college picks.
There’s a good chance Walker will be in Akron at James’ camp next summer. Until then the two might just keep in touch via Twitter. With nearly 2.9 million followers, James recently moved into Twitter’s 100 most followed people. He’s the sixth most-followed athlete in the world and is third among American sports stars.
Brian Windhorst covers the Miami Heat for ESPN.com and the Heat Index.