University of Miami

Elite basketball prospect has Canes in his top group. Here’s why it’s so important

Miami coach Larranaga dances with team after beating No. 18 Virginia

Miami head coach Jim Larranaga busts some moves in the locker room with his team after beating No. 18 Virginia on Monday.
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Miami head coach Jim Larranaga busts some moves in the locker room with his team after beating No. 18 Virginia on Monday.

It’s only been a few weeks since Miami made its first major basketball recruiting splash in the Class of 2019 and more good news continues to arrive for the Hurricanes. CJ Walker, a top-50 national recruit in the 247Sports.com composite rankings, announced his top 3 via Twitter on Wednesday and Miami made the cut. Now, the Hurricanes need to beat out LSU and Oregon to land the elite prospect.

“And then there was 3,” Walker wrote to accompany a graphic depicting him in jerseys of the three schools.

Walker’s announcement isn’t a major surprise. The 4-star power forward from Orlando Oak Ridge took an official visit to Coral Gables in September and spoke glowingly of the program after the trip.

“I love how The U is a big family, and the coaches are making me and my family a priority,” Walker told SB Nation after the visit. “South Florida loves their sports especially football and basketball.”

The past 12 months have been a bit of a roller coaster for Miami on the recruiting trail. A possible FBI investigation last year decimated their Class of 2018 before it even began to come together. Miami didn’t sign a single high school prospect in the 2018 class, and instead was forced to hit the transfer market to replace star Lonnie Walker and Bruce Brown after both left early for the NBA.

The 2019 class, however, has a chance to be a serious rebound for coach Jim Larranaga and his staff. The Hurricanes secured their first verbal commitment of the cycle last month when Isaiah Wong, a 4-star combo guard, announced his pledge.

A commitment from Walker would surpass even Wong’s in importance to Miami. A 4-star power forward, Walker could be an immediate successor to Anthony Lawrence and Dewan Huell, both of whom could leave after this coming season, on the Hurricanes’ front line. Walker, who ranks as the No. 28 overall prospect in the nation, would be the highest ranked forward to commit to Miami since Huell joined the Hurricanes in the Class of 2016.

While Walker didn’t set a timeline for a commitment, he’s already taken official visits to two of the three schools in his top group after visiting both Miami and Oregon last month. Walker plans to visit LSU on Oct. 19, 247Sports reports.

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