Name: Langston Walker-Morris
Class of: 2012
Height: 6 foot 5 inches
The Langston Walker-Morris is an intriguing 2012 West Coast recruit. The “sleeper” label is oft overused, but appears legit when applied to the 6’5 out of Berkeley High (Ca.). When asked for his take on the incoming Oregon State Assistant Coach David Grace was clearly enthused in securing the ’12 recruit, “First of all he is an outstanding young man. He is a great teammate and he has the skills to play at our level. He also has a high ceiling to get better and the willingness to do so. I love Langston to death. I really enjoyed recruiting him.” Reads as though Corvallis (OR) residents and Beaver basketball fans have something special headed their way.State bound
Although Coach Grace and the Oregon State faithful are anticipating big things of the ’12 Freshman, it appears many West Coast D1 programs may have slept on Morris-Walkers’ game. Saint Mary’s (Ca.), UCSB, UTEP, and Colorado offered, and Washington State was certainly interested, but most of the PAC-12 and MWC appear to have over-looked the 20.3 points and 9.6 rebounds the Senior put together during the ’11-’12 High school campaign. Most likely contributing to the underrated standing is what some see as a “tweener” stature/game. At 6’5 210lbs Walker-Morris is a bit undersized to play the 3 at the D1 level and there are some questions as to his agility/lateral quickness in respect to time at the 2. No disrespect to the folks over at ESPNU, but a 2-star rating and concerns over the skill-set required of a D1 Shooting Guard, strike me as inaccurate. Morris-Walker appears a high level athlete with controlled explosion around the rim and when finishing. He carries strong open court skills and routinely breaks his defender down in 1-on-1 situations. Court awareness and vision are evident and he appears comfortable playing/finishing through contact.
On the D side Langston-Walker possesses a shutdown mentality and his length contributes to tipped/intercepted passes (1.4 Steals ’11-’12). Barring a 2-3inch growth spurt, I don’t see Walker-Morris matching up against bigger Small Forwards at the D1 level, at least not consistently. The 2 spot appears the most logical and his success will be predicated on refining his technique and maximizing his agility and lateral quickness. He has the reputation as a strong on-ball defender. If this holds true once he hits the Oregon State campus Walker-Morris should see significant Freshman playing time. The 2011-12 Oregon State squad gave up 73.1ppg (#298 nationally) and is very much in need of a defensive stalwart. The 9.6 rebounds produced as a High School Senior will only add to his on-court value assuming the production carries over to the PAC-12 game.
Areas of opportunity include developing a more consistent outside game, adding 10-15lbs in muscle without compromising quickness, and refining his ball skills. Much of Walker-Morris’ High school scoring came off beating his man and driving the hoop. This will become more challenging at the next level as he’ll consistently face more accomplished defenders. If his defender isn’t forced to honor an outside shot, Morris-Walker may find drive opportunities greatly diminished. (35 for 109, 32%) behind the arc as a Senior is serviceable, but the results were streaky/inconsistent. His strong desire to drive the hoop led to 5 games of 10+ Free Throw Attempts, and the 72.5% was acceptable. If he can add a little more consistency at 15+feet and add 5-7+ pts to the FT%, Langston-Morris should prove productive early in his Oregon State career. If however, those numbers hold flat or even decrease, his value/production may be limited more to the defensive and rebounding side. It appears there is a strong tendency to take a defender to his (Walker-Morris) left and finish with his right hand. He will need to mix that up some more at the next level to avoid predictability. By all accounts he possesses a strong work-ethic and the drive to improve. Given that, I see Walker-Morris securing 20+ minutes a game as a Freshman and developing into an All-Conference level performer later in his OSU career.
When asked for his take on a Rivals ranking of 3-stars and #139 overall, the answer Langston Morris-Walker spoke volumes of his mindset and maturity. “I am humbled that I’ve been considered to be one of the top 150 players in the country. Even though I personally don’t pay much attention to theses rankings I am honored to have my hard work recognized.” My guess is his humble nature, coupled with strong work-ethic and god given athleticism, have many on the Oregon State basketball staff just as excited about Walker-Morris as the aforementioned Assistant Coach David Grace. When asked what led to his inking with OSU, Walker-Morris remarked, “The 1st class coaching staff. All the coaches are high character people. Coach Craig Robinson is a role model. And the opportunity I will have as a freshmen.” Strikes me as a great fit for both sides. A high-character and humble young hooper and a high-character motivated coaching staff. Expect big things from this Corvallis-bound sleeper.