Kyree Walker reclassifying to 2019?

I found this write up this morning when I was researching Kyree Walker. I have no idea whether Coach Juwan is getting seriously involved with Kyree, and if so, as a reclassification candidate for 2019, but as DraeDay said, “the kid is a beast.” BP3 had something up about him, too.

One of the main reasons, though, that I wanted to put this up is what it says in the last paragraph or so about how negative posts on social media can affect these kids, and also the comment from his mom, “he’s still just a kid.” Something to be kept in mind, I think, as we analyze and critique players. :slightly_smiling_face:

Mentally healthier after mom’s cancer remission, Kyree Walker ‘probably’ reclassifying to 2019

By: Logan Newman, USA TODAY High School Sports | February 22, 2019

Late in the game Thursday against Fast Break Prep (Tucson, Ariz.), Kyree Walker threw down an off-the-backboard self-alley-oop.

If he was making a mark for his going away bash, it was an exclamation point.

It was Hillcrest Prep’s (Phoenix) senior night, and though Walker is a junior, it might be the final high school game in Arizona for the five-star recruit.

He said he would “probably” reclassify to 2019.

“Most likely I’m posting my last game here at Hillcrest as a player,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen after AAU season’s over with, I haven’t decided yet, but probably this is my last game.”

The family hasn’t made any official decisions, but Walker has been taking extra classes and focusing on his training. He’s not just in a better physical state than he was a year ago, though.

Mentally, Walker has found a peace he did not have at the start of this season.

His mom, Barrissa Gardner, was diagnosed with cancer in May.

“Just the fact that I was trying to hoop and still be successful messed up the way I played,” Walker said. “In a huge way.”

Walker is 6-foot-6, 228 pounds and No. 16 on the 2020 Chosen 25. He was a midseason Player of the Year candidate. He’s thought to be a future NBA prospect.

It’s easy to forget he’s still a high school student.

In July, Gardner underwent her first surgery.

“It was a very difficult thing for a kid to go through,” she said. “I think that’s what people sometimes lose sight of with Kyree, that he’s still a kid. He’s achieved a lot and done a lot with amateur basketball, but he’s still a kid."

The diagnosis wasn’t the only family matter plaguing Walker’s mind. Gardner’s father had died just three months prior, the second grandparent Walker had lost in the last couple years.

“I didn’t play so good and I take that on me,” Walker said. “My grandmother and my grandfather had passed away in the last two years so I’ve gone through that. So having my mom have breast cancer, it messed up me in a huge way mentally. … It showed — it showed.”

Head coach Howard Thomas said he could see it in practice and had to adjust the way he was coaching the five-star athlete.

“(There’s) pressure on him to be Kyree every time out,” Thomas said. “When he’s not Kyree, people are looking like, ‘Oh what happened, he didn’t perform last night.’”

While the stigma surrounding mental health in the NBA has diminished thanks to players such as Kevin Love, Thomas thinks there can still be shame at the high school level.

“It’s still high school kids so there’s still that immaturity there,” Thomas said. “If there’s a kid suffering through that, undiagnosed especially, high school kids can be rude.”

Luckily for Walker and his family, Gardner caught her diagnosis quickly. In November, she was told she was cancer-free. That lifted the weight off Walker’s shoulders.

“She told me everything was going to be fine. She told me just go out there and hoop, do what you can do, I’m going to be fine here, waiting for you, supporting you,” Walker said. “Hearing that, I try my best to go out there every time and just hoop, just go out there and kill.”

But the mental fight that cost Walker on the court cast a shadow of doubt upon him from the outside.

Thomas said that can affect his star player as well.

“I wish people had more of an opportunity to be around him, cause he’s such a great kid. When he reads stuff about him online, it depresses him. I’m like, ‘Hey man, you can’t let all that stuff get to you, man, you just gotta dial in and be the best version of Kyree. … It’s not always what you’re doing wrong, it’s somebody’s opinion.’”

Good advice, I think from an older, wiser man, his coach, but not always easy for “a kid.” This last sentence is mine. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Nice find on the article Silverblue. I agree with your comments about how social media can affect a player.

We have had indications in the past that the family members of some players read UM Hoops. The recent posts by Franz and Mo’s father tell me that we should always assume family members and probably players read UM Hoops.

While other blogs can become very direct and sometimes mean about individual players, I like that the conversation on UM Hoops generally stays polite. This is a basketball blog and I think it is ok to criticize the team or a player within the bounds of politeness, but we should stay away from being mean about it (e.g. suggestion / speculation about players transferring, a player being a waste of a scholarship, etc.).

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Social media is crazy. Honestly, it’s maybe the best and the worst invention of the Internet Age. Not to get too deep, but the negativity for players I can imagine is brutal. It’s hard to write off angry comments for some (I know I would feel the same way if I were a player) and I totally agree that critique is totally fair but stuff like personal attacks has a real-life negative effect on players in their own lives.

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The difficult thing for me is that I never grew up with social media, and it really wasn’t part of my consciousness until my late fifties or sixties, so it’s hard for me to understand or accept that folks seem to be able to say anything on social media that comes into their mind. We often post without thinking. Oh, and by the way, I DO think I have a pretty clear understanding of the first amendment. :slightly_smiling_face:

For me, I can say that I have written responses and then gone back and erased the entire comment or at least edited the comment as I thought about it. It is so easy to just say something in the heat of the moment, hit send, and then there it is for all to see.

Then, too, I hope I’m always seen as one who is positive about our players and our recruits, or really any of these young kids who are playing their sport and living the dream. I try to remain supportive and even protective of those players. Or I just remain silent, which as everyone knows is usually hard for me to do. :grin:

So, not being raised on social media, and understanding that kids and their families probably do read these message boards, and the fact that I am a dad, myself, a grandpa, too, I try to stay as positive as I can. In addition I have been a teacher and coach whose style was (almost) always exuberant praise and positivity toward my students and players and that motivates me, too. So that’s the standard I try to maintain for myself.

Yes, I know I can be a bit overly critical of commenters when I read comments that I think are overly critical of players, or perhaps unfair, or unnecessary, but I’ve tried to tone that down because, well, positivity, and everyone really does have a right to their opinion.

And, after all, this is the best forum I’ve read with an outstanding group of guys (gals?). It is almost always civil, almost always fair, and, frankly, never hurtful, at least I think we all hope it’s not hurtful. My original post with the comments from the coach and the mom were just a reminder for myself and for all of us. And, then too, if we do go after Walker, I thought it would provide a little insight into the young man, as a person and a player.

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You’re the best poster on here! Cheers!

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You’re too kind, my friend. I’m just an old guy who loves people and who has, hopefully, learned a few things over my many years. And there are a lot of great posters on here. By the way, I read one of your posts earlier today on, I think, mgoblog about next year’s starting five and I thought it was spot on! I absolutely agree on Brooks. Thanks again, and as always, Go Blue!

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To your earlier point, silver, regarding umhoops, “this is the best forum I’ve read with an outstanding group of guys (gals?)”, I wholeheartedly agree. It still almost stupefies me a bit how this forum, borne in social media, can be jam-packed with people who don’t need their ego to feed their opinions and don’t need to “win” an argument to glean satisfaction over the enjoyment of learning something new about the team or recruiting, or coaching changes, or wins and losses. It’s counterintiuitive almost by its very nature. This is by far the most knowledgeable, passionate-yet-compassionate bunch of nutball Blue hoops fans, and I’m really happy to be part of it. It’s led and moderated by a great moderator and journalist (along with his exceptional team of writers), but the engine is the community that won’t allow (apologies) bullshit to be spread about the student-athletes that represent the University of Michigan. Kudos to the discussion, debate, arguments, and passion. Thanks for representing a vast majority of us; I know I agree with much of what you say.

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Exceptionally well said, Bluejay. We are a group of members who comprise a forum that exists to talk about something very near and dear to us, OUR Michigan Basketball program, players, coaches, etc. I truly believe as members of that group we believe in showing respect for one another. That doesn’t happen on all forums or on all social media platforms. As you’ve eloquently said, Bluejay, I think it’s very rare.

We recognize that we won’t all be of the same opinion about every aspect of Michigan Basketball, but that’s OK because our love for Michigan Basketball supersedes any differences of opinion we may have, and listening to and accepting those differences of opinion can help us grow in our thinking. Case in point, and I’ve talked about this on this very forum, is my own emerging and growing opinion and beliefs about paying college athletes. I am not all the way there because I’m such an amateur athletics kind of guy, but I’m moving in that direction from reading points of view on this forum. I read things that make sense when I think about them, but I wouldn’t necessarily think about them if I didn’t read them here.

We are a diverse group in age and in life experiences, and in many other ways, too, and there is strength in that. And we are led by, as you say, and I think we all agree, an outstanding journalist, analyst, and moderator, who lets us know, respectfully, when we’ve gone overboard and calms us down when we need it, or redirects us and brings us back on track. Dylan encourages us to express our opinions while providing us with great content and excellent writing by him and his staff. And, by the way, he gives us this great content for, like, next to nothing! So, I couldn’t agree more with you, Bluejay. A simple “like” just wouldn’t suffice! :grin:

NOW, since this is the “Kyree Walker reclassifying to 2019” thread does anyone have any knowledge as to where that might go? Are we involved? Will we get involved? The young man has said he will reclassify, at least in the article I referenced from late February he did. He is about 6’5, 200-210 lbs and really is a beast. 247 has him as number 26 on the composite ranking for 2020 and 32 on their internal ranking. He can handle it well, take it to the basket, score at the rim. He can create for himself. He has an improving outside shot. He has a pretty effusive personality. And, at least according to his coach, he’s “such a great kid.” Gosh, sounds like a kid we could use with one of those two remaining scholarships…if he reclassifies. What say you? Kyree Walker, hmmm.

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