Kentucky Women’s Basketball lone commit for the 2021 class made it official on Wednesday.
According to UK, four-star point guard Jada Walker signed her National Letter of Intent earlier today and will join the Wildcat program for the 2021-22 season. The 5-foot-7 native of Richmond, VA is ranked by ESPN as the No. 87 player in her class and the 18th-best point guard.
“I cannot imagine a player that’s a better fit for our program than Jada Walker,” Head coach Matthew Mitchell said on Wednesday. “We are over the moon excited that she has decided to be a Kentucky Wildcat. The first time I saw her play, I immediately fell in love with how hard she plays and how aggressive she is on both ends of the floor. She loves to play up-tempo, which will make her a valuable asset to our program. Jada emulates all of the qualities that we look for in a point guard. She is confident, has a high basketball IQ and is a leader on the floor. Our staff cannot wait to get her on campus next year and officially begin her career at Kentucky.”
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) November 11, 2020
Walker originally chose the ‘Cats back in late May, picking them over the likes of Michigan, Arizona, NC State, and Mississippi State. As a junior at Henrico High School out of Virginia, she averaged 26.3 points and an impressive 5.9 steals per game while connecting on 54 percent of her shots.
The natural-lefty has been renowned as a relentless worker throughout her early high school years and has a basketball background that extends to both parents. Walker’s mother is the current head coach for the Detroit Mercy Women’s Basketball team while her father was a former star at Virginia Union. Heading into her senior season, she’ll be battled tested before she even steps foot on the Lexington campus. Her fit with Kentucky is as snug as Coach Mitchell described.
“There’s a lot of good players at Kentucky and they play at such a high level,” Walker told KSR in July. “And I’m used to playing with guards at high levels because my mom coached college players, so I used to work out with them and they would challenge me. So when I get to college I already know it’s going to be a challenge but I think I’ll be prepared for it because I’ve been doing it all my high school career.”
Walker will hope to follow in the footsteps of previous backcourt players under Matthew Mitchell who were born to play defense. In recent seasons, Taylor Murray and Jaida Roper fulfilled the role of defensive pest and on-ball intimidator; Walker wants to step in their place. If anything, she embraces the potential challenge of it.
“I actually enjoy playing defense,” Walker told KSR. “That’s where I get most of my points from because I know the guards are going to be taller than me and I’m good at guarding other positions. If I get caught on a big person, I know how to defend them.”
But arguably the most tantalizing aspect of her game is her mental approach. Walker was recently knocked from the No. 63 ranked prospect in 2021 by ESPN all the way to No. 87, something she’s turning into a motivator.
Motivation is real. Yall snubbed me. Ranked #87. Lol
Any other player who had accomplished what I've done would be ranked Top #5.
* Nike EYBL since 8th grade
*3X 1st Team All State 2 states (VA and MD)
*Pre Season All American
*Geico HS National Champion
Yall Funny? pic.twitter.com/gHGbVX6A14
— Jada Walker (@jadawalkr11) September 9, 2020
Kentucky is expected to have a loaded roster for the 2021-22 season, returning Rhyne Howard for her senior season while adding two transfers in Jazmine Massengill and Robyn Benton (that is, if they aren’t deemed immediately eligible before the start of the 2020-21 season on Nov. 25). Considering the fact that any current seniors will be allowed to return for a free season next year, Kentucky could boast its most talented roster ever in 2021-22.