JONESBORO — After several months of careful deliberation, Jonesboro High senior M.J. Walker decided Wednesday to continue his basketball career at Florida State University.
Walker made his choice in front of family, friends, coaches and teammates at a ceremony in the Jonesboro High gym. The 5-star recruit picked Florida State over Georgia Tech, UCLA, Ohio State and Virginia Tech.
“I feel good, I feel like in my heart this is where God wanted me to be,” Walker said regarding his decision. “I waited the process out, I saw different schools, I talked to different coaches and saw different players. I feel like Florida State was the best fit for me and my family. When I went to sleep, I didn’t second guess it.”
Florida State was one of the first schools to show serious interest in Walker when he was a ninth grader, and maintained its commitment throughout the recruiting process.
“It definitely took part in it,” Walker said regarding the importance of Florida State’s consistency in his decision. “Coach C.Y., he’s been there since day one, since my ninth grade year. They weren’t the first to offer me, but as far as being consistent, they were definitely consistent in the process. That definitely played a part.”
Walker will become the second Cardinal basketball star in recent memory to attend Florida State. Toney Douglas played for the Seminoles in 2008 and 2009. Both Walker and Douglas were recruited heavily by Florida State assistant Charlton “C.Y.” Young. Walker said his relationship with Young and the rest of the Seminoles’ coaching staff was the determining factor in his decision.
“The biggest factor was the relationship, the relationship with me and the coaches between me and my family, everything was just there,” Walker said. “When we went for a visit back in December I think it was, the feeling was mutual. I felt comfortable being down there and even after I took visits, you know, some coaches if you visit other places, they feel like you’re not interested or whatever. But they stayed the course and stayed consistent.”
Walker said that he was courted heavily by the four other schools in his top five. He went on visits to UCLA, Virginia Tech and Ohio State over the last month, and admitted that he was intrigued by each option.
“It was between all five, it was definitely between all five,” Walker said. “I could see myself playing at each school. Like I said, I think it just came down to relationships. The last couple of weeks I went on three visits to UCLA, Virginia Tech, Ohio State — all beautiful campuses, great coaching staffs and we built great relationships as well. But in my heart, Florida State is where I’m supposed to be.”
The three-time Clayton County Player of the Year holds the county scoring record, which he broke this season when he surpassed Douglas’ total with more than 2,400 points. Walker also became Clayton County’s first McDonald’s All-American selection this season. With Jonesboro, he won two state championships, appeared in three state finals and won four region titles.
“It’s an amazing experience. I’m just blessed to be in this position to go to school for free,” Walker said. “To be able to play for Jonesboro High School and coach (Dan) Maehlman, just for my city and everything, it’s just a blessing to be able to be here. For the next step, I’m ready. I’m ready to take my game to the next level and ready to do bigger and better things.”