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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Men's basketball: Golden Eagles sign 6-foot-4 guard from Calif.

  • Walton is the first signee for new Head Coach Dan Weisse, who was recently announced as the UMC men's basketball coach.
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  • The University of Minnesota Crookston announced the addition of A.J. Walton (G, 6-4 190, Hesperia, Calif./Oak Hills H.S.) to a National Letter of Intent. Walton is the first signee for new Head Coach Dan Weisse, who was recently announced as the UMC men’s basketball coach. Walton joins Gable Smith (G/F, 6-7 170, Lodi, Wis.) and Jim Warmack (F/C, 6-7 220, East Grand Forks, Minn.) who signed with the Golden Eagles during the Early Signing Period and who kept their commitments from the previous staff.
    “A.J. is a young man that is a great fit for our program,” said Weisse. “He is someone who is hungry to get better. A.J. has intangibles and skills that you can’t coach. He comes from a very strong program in Oak Hills and was very well-coached by Shaun Mora. I feel that he is a great fit with the returning guys, as well a good compliment to the two others players we have already signed. A.J. is a high character kid who will find success off and on the court. He is a bigger guard who is a good ball-handler and is someone that can also post up at times. In addition, he brings great defense to our team. We expect a great four-year career out of A.J.”
    Walton was named the Mojave River League Player of the Year for the 2014 season. In addition, he was an All-California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Division II First Team selection and a First Team All-San Bernardino County pick. Walton was the All-Area Basketball Athlete of the Year. He helped lead Oak Hills H.S. to a 25-5 record and to the CIF Division II Semifinals. The Bulldogs were an unblemished 12-0 in Mojave River League action. Walton averaged 15.7 points and 7.2 rebounds as a senior. Defensively, he averaged 2.3 steals per contest. Walton scored a season-high 25 points against Granite Hills H.S. Dec. 18. In the CIF Southern Section playoffs, he tallied 20 points in an 82-79 win over Colony H.S. In addition, Walton showed off his athleticism as the High Desert Dunk Champion in 2014 and the All-County Dunk Champion.
    “I am excited to sign with Minnesota Crookston,” Walton said. “I really liked Coach Weisse and the school is a fit for what I want to major in. If I had to describe my game it would be as a run and gun guy. I try to bring energy and excitement to the floor and focus on executing on the floor. Both on an off the court I try to show good sportsmanship and class.”
    Walton is the son of Dawn Bracken. He was born Jan. 21, 1996. He played in high school for Shaun Mora at Oak Hills H.S. Walton is planning to major in business at UMC.
    Page 2 of 2 - “A.J. is a really loveable kid,” said Oak Hills High School Head Coach Shaun Mora. “We recently received a letter from a rival school just commenting on how impressed they were with A.J. and his sportsmanship. Athletically, A.J. is a dynamic athlete who can jump out of the gym. In addition, he is someone who plays his best on the biggest stages. We had a program-best record of 25-5 this season and he was one of the key reasons. A.J. is still raw, but he has gotten better every year and is someone with incredible work ethic. He is always the first in the gym and the last out of the gym.”
    The student-athlete listed today as having signed a National Letter of Intent has been verified by the UMC Compliance Office once they sign the National Letter of Intent.
    In addition to the three signees, UMC will have 13 student-athletes slated to return for the 2014-15 season including seven seniors. The Golden Eagles top returners include: Derrick Redd, Jr. (Jr., G, Menifee, Calif./Sports and Rec Management) who averaged 10.2 points per game and Tyler West, Jr. (Sr., F, Portland, Ore./Communications), who averaged 9.1 points and 5.7 boards.
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