York County’s Jarace Walker, one of the top high school sophomore basketball players in the nation, will perform on ESPN this weekend.
Walker and his Top 10 IMG Academy Ascenders will participate in the Spalding Hoophall Classic tournament in Springfield, Massachusetts. At least a dozen of the nation’s top-ranked teams will make an appearance.
The four-day tournament features some of the top teams from across the nation, including IMG, the defending national champs. Jarace was one of its first players off the bench last year as a freshman.
After growing up in New Freedom, the 6-foot-7 do-it-all talent opted to attend IMG’s prestigious boarding school in Bradenton, Florida.
The Ascenders are 11-3 and No. 7 in the most recent ESPN national rankings. They will play the Patrick School of New Jersey at 6 p.m. Saturday (ESPN3) before Sunday’s 7:30 p.m. showdown against the No. 1 Montverde Academy of Florida (ESPN).
The two teams have quite a recent history.
IMG rallied to beat Montverde by a point in last April’s Geico High School Nationals in New York City.
In December, Montverde, now 17-0, defeated the Ascenders in a tournament in Fort Myers, Florida.
Montverde features elite seniors Cade Cunningham and Scottie Barnes, who will play college ball at Oklahoma State and Florida State, respectively.
Future NBA stars such as Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Karl Anthony-Towns and Ben Simmons played in the Spalding Hoophall in previous years.
This year, the sons of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade will play for the California-based Sierra Canyon team.
Jarace, now a starter, is coming off a whirlwind summer basketball tour: the NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp in Virginia, the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Minicamp in Colorado and Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry’s camp in California.
He also starred for Team Thrill, an elite Baltimore-based AAU program. Maryland native and Denver Nuggets’ standout Will Barton financially backs the team and also helps coach it when possible.
Certainly, Jarace is considered one of the top high school underclassmen in the nation. ESPN ranks him as the No. 11 talent in the 2022 graduating class.
His early scholarship offer list includes Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Maryland, LSU, Florida, Miami, Georgia, Auburn, Stanford and Pitt.