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J. Thomas McNamara

     One in the hand is worth two in the bush…
     While that’s an old adage, RJ Walker may have made the wisest choice of his uncertain high school basketball future with his verbal commitment to play for the Idaho Vandals of the Big Sky Conference.
     “I have no clue what the future holds for me, but what I do know is that I’ve decided to verbally commit to the University of Idaho,” wrote Walker in his tweet which is how he announced his verbal commitment.
     Later, he told the Decatur Tribune he’ll sign with Idaho when the letter of intent national signing period opens in early November. During the interview, he described how his future coaches plan to play him.
     RJ said they envision him playing point guard because of how well he sees the court and gets his teammates involved.
     Walker is going there at the right time as the Vandals are in a rebuilding mode after finishing in the Big Sky last season. They went 8-24 overall and 4-16 in the league. They’re also moving into a new stadium which Walker looks forward to since he will be the first team to play in their new arena.
With the uncertainty facing prep athletics in the state of Illinois, there is no guarantees Walker and his coach/Dad, Rodney Walker will get to play in Bob Witt Gymnasium this 2020-21 season. With the way Gov. Pritzker has been sounding of late, the entire prep sports seasons may be wiped out except for what is being played now–boys and girls cross-country, tennis, boys and girls golf and swimming and diving. He doubled down twice last week about contact sports that include basketball with football and volleyball.
     Three weeks ago I would have said the prep basketball season would begin in mid-November with the first games on Dec. 3, but not so sure now and neither are the coaches.
     As a result, RJ’s commitment is good where the Eisenhower senior guard knows he will be heading to Idaho to continue his academic and basketball careers in a conference that his Dad played in when he wore the New Mexico State uniforms.
     Even if he doesn’t play another second of prep basketball for the Panthers, his place is already secured in Panthers boys basketball lore as one of their 1,000 point scorers with that coming last winter. He has scored 1,074 points in his career which is good for 13th place in Eisenhower’s all-time 1,000 point scoring list with Lewis Jackson the top scorer with 1,630.
     I will have more on this developing story in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.

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