Walton chooses North Carolina


Photo by Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald Hopkins guard and U of NC signee Kerwin Walton

Kerwin Walton, one of the state’s top prep boys’ basketball players as a member of the Hopkins Royals and the Class of 2020, committed last week to play at the University of North Carolina this fall.

According to Prep Hoops, the 6’5” Walton was the number-three-ranked prospect in the state behind Gonzaga signee Jalen Suggs (Minnehaha Academy) and Marquette University commit Dawson Garcia (Prior Lake).

He chose North Carolina over Minnesota, Creighton and Arizona.

Walton burst onto the scene as a player who had offers from Minnesota, Creighton, South Dakota, Drake, Denver, Kansas State, Purdue and Baylor before the start of his junior season.

That season he teamed with center Zeke Nnaji—who had an outstanding freshman season at the University of Arizona and has declared for the upcoming NBA draft—and point guard Jalen Dearring to lead Hopkins to the Class 4A 2019 state title.

An outstanding perimeter defender, playmaker and shooter, Walton had all three skills on display this past winter after the graduations of Nnaji and Dearring. In leading Hopkins to the sectional title before the state tournament was canceled because of the coronavirus, the sharpshooting, slashing guard simply took over, averaging 26.4 points per game while becoming one of the state’s most dominant players.

Of the top-tier players in this year’s in-state class, Walton was the last to sign, joining one of the nation’s top college basketball programs that struggled this past season, finishing with a 14-19 record. The Tar Heels hope to improve on that mark with one of the country’s top recruiting classes.

Walton started his prep career at Breck averaging 16.3 points per game as a freshman. After transferring to Hopkins, he netted 11.2 points per contest during his sophomore season and 16.8 as a junior.