Prep notebook: Hurricanes' Jamaal Walker to walk on for UTC

Prep notebook: Hurricanes' Jamaal Walker to walk on for UTC

March 28th, 2019 by Staff Reports in Sports - Preps

East Hamilton's Jamaal Walker (1) scores on a jump shot close to the basket during a Region 3-AAA semifinal against Stone Memorial last month at Cleveland High School.

East Hamilton's Jamaal Walker (1) scores on a...

Photo by Robin Rudd /Times Free Press.

East Hamilton senior Jamaal Walker has accepted an offer to walk on for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball team.

The 6-foot-5 Walker, who originally was classified for the 2020 signing class, helped lead the Hurricanes to a 20-win season under coach Frank Jones this year with averages of 17 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals a game. The versatile athlete played both guard positions and small forward in his one season at East Hamilton after transferring from Baylor and sitting out his junior year.

"He's a team player who does a lot of different things," Jones said. "He's got a good outside shot and can rebound the ball well. When he plays the one position (point guard) he's more concerned about helping his teammates. He's the one who wants the ball in his hands at crunch time, yet when he doesn't have the ball he will find a way to contribute on both ends.

"To me, he's a real sleeper since he played here only one year."

Walker's original plan was to attend post-grad prep school. He hopes a walk-on year with the Mocs will allow him to prove he belongs at the Division I level.

"They were talking to me about 2020, and when they found out I was available this year they offered me a chance to walk on," Walker said. "It depends on how I do as to whether I can get a scholarship, but it feels good that everybody is rooting for me. I just plan to go in and work hard and prove I can belong on this level."

Meanwhile, East Hamilton's Cameron Montgomery and Red Bank's Tory Sewell will play for Tennessee Wesleyan University next fall, and Hamilton Heights standout Jason Jitobah chose Florida over Tennessee and Central Florida.

Brown blazing

Cleveland freshman softball player Sierra Brown is off to a slugging start.

Brown is batting .667 (20-for-30) with five doubles, five home runs and 24 RBIs through her first 11 games with the Lady Blue Raiders.

In back-to-back district performances against Bradley Central and McMinn County she smacked two home runs and drove in seven runs. That earned her the honor of National Fastpitch Coaches Association and Max Preps national high school player of the week in the South Region.

"Sierra is humble in her successes, relentless in her pursuit of growth and above all a loyal teammate," Cleveland coach KJ Harris said. "Sierra has one of the most fundamentally sound swings that I have ever seen. I couldn't be more proud of the hard work and dedication she puts into the game."