At this time of the year, teams are jostling for playoff position in district or conference play, continuing to build up their resumes in hopes for a high playoff seed or for a GEICO Nationals invite. From a player perspective, especially ones that are high end 4 and 5-star recruits, the goal is to see their names appear on the McDonald’s All American Roster, which this year is set to be announced on Jan. 24 between 3-4 pm ET.
Ja’Kobe Walter of unbeaten and FAB 50 No. 3 Link Academy (Branson, Mo.) is one whose resume gives him a strong chance.
The Baylor signee has accumulated over 2,000 points in his high school career, received NBPA & Wooten Camp invites, 1st Team UIL All-District and region honors for multiple seasons, 1st Team TABC All-State honors, led McKinney (Texas) to its first ever state title game in 2021-22 and was third in points per game in Adidas 3SSB with Team Trae Young. Walter has stayed consistent with his production throughout high school.
“It’s been a dream of mine for a long time to be a McDonald’s All American,” Walter told Ballislife. “The players that have played in that game, the meaning of it. It’s just always been a dream of mine to play in the same game as the ones before me.”
Walter talks about why he feels he’s earned a spot.
“I just feel like I’ve always been consistent on the court; if that was in school ball or in AAU,” Walter said. “And I’ve won a lot of games at both levels. Went to state with McKinney, right now we are top 3 in the country even though we should be No. 1 and my stats have transferred to winning as well.”
Walter leads FAB 50 No. 3 Link team in scoring (13.4 ppg) and is third in rebounding (3.9 rpg). He also can add MVP honors from his performance at the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions, as Link Academy defeated No. 11 Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) in the title game to push its record to 18-0. The future Baylor Bear compiled 17 points and brought massive energy on the court.
A scoring guard with a strong frame. Scores it in limited dribbles but a promising decision maker off the live dribble due to awareness and passing accuracy. He’s naturally strong, which allows him to get to his spots to elevate and launch. The savvy shooting guard keeps defenders at bay utilizing advanced triple threat game, plus length, and has been someone that can consistently make tough shots off the bounce. There’s a lot of upside with his defense. A formidable on-ball defender currently, but he has another tier on the defensive end he will unlock down the road which will show more of his versatility. He really uses his length, strength and lateral mobility to guard well on-the-ball and does a good job as a team defender.
When looking at the major national recruiting network player rankings, Walter’s name appears generally in the top 20 range. That’s fits with where I believe he falls and honestly I feel he’s a bit higher, especially with his play this season with arguably the No. 1 team in the country.
The Mcdonald’s All-American Game announces its team of 24 players on Jan. 24 and he’s performed as one of them. Although he currently resides in Branson, Mo., Texas is home for Walter. I don’t see five Texas natives in the 2023 class representing the state as was the case in 2021-22. But of the few that will be, however, it would be a surprise if Ja’Kobe Walter isn’t one of them.