Colt McDowell nonetheless picks up the cellphone and calls Sam Walters.

Actually, he did in order not too long ago as this previous Saturday for a half-hour chat.

As he does with nearly all of his gamers, the pinnacle coach of The Villages Excessive College boys basketball crew does so to sometimes make it recognized that he’s there and supportive of them.

And that even extends to former gamers like Walters now, too.

McDowell and Walters have that slight change of their relationship’s title after the latter’s switch to Montverde Academy. Walters departed the Buffalo program in late September along with his recruiting inventory skyrocketing.

“I really like the child and I believe he made the best determination for himself,” McDowell mentioned of Walters. “You by no means wish to lose anyone, particularly a participant as proficient and expert as Sam, however I used to be so glad he received this chance. When he advised me the place he’s going and why, I knew it’d be a fantastic expertise for him.”

Walters is without doubt one of the nation’s most interesting highschool basketball prospects, now enrolled at arguably the nation’s premier preps hoops hotbed. Ranked because the No. 18 recruit nationally within the Class of 2023 by ESPN, the sophomore ahead has Division I scholarship provides from the likes of Florida, LSU and Georgetown amongst others.

Montverde completed an ideal 25-0 and earned a consensus No. 1 rating nationwide final season, whereas churning out collegiate and NBA stars resembling Ben Simmons, D’Angelo Russell and Joel Embiid in recent times. The Eagles are projected to have 9 gamers listed in ESPN’s High 50 recruiting rankings on their roster for the 2020-21 season.

“We inform our children on a regular basis that we’re going to work to make them the very best we probably can,” McDowell mentioned. “But when there’s a greater state of affairs on the market for you and also you wish to make the most of it, I’ll be the primary one to let you know to do it.

“So when somebody like him decides like that, there’s no ailing emotions in any way — it’s love and help.”

Together with his 6-foot-9-inch body and skill to shoot from lengthy vary, Walters dazzled in his first — and solely — season in a Buffalo uniform in 2019-20, posting double-figure level totals in eight video games final season. He additionally averaged 10.3 factors and eight.8 rebounds per sport for the Buffalo Stampeders this fall, earlier than in the end transferring to Montverde after six offseason contests.

“Dropping Sam (Walters) sucks, however we all know what we’ve received right here,” VHS senior guard Nasir Mann mentioned. “We’ve received guys who’ve been displaying up and dealing exhausting, and we’re targeted on getting higher every day and what we’ve received to do to have a profitable season.”

VHS will open its 2020-21 marketing campaign with out its former star ahead on Nov. 23, when the Buffalo host Class 4A-District 6 foe Hernando at 7:30 p.m.

“I believe we actually realized to soak up his loss in the course of the fall,” McDowell mentioned of Walters’ departure. “It made us understand what he dropped at the desk and simply how good he was for us. But it surely additionally allowed us to see that we’ve nonetheless received plenty of actually nice gamers right here with us on this locker room, and I’m excited to see who’s going to step up for us subsequent.”​





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