Sooners Sign Juco Guard

Friday, May 2nd 2014, 3:03 pm
By: News 9

Oklahoma has signed junior college guard Dinjiyl Walker (first name pronounced din-JELL) to a national letter of intent, coach Lon Kruger announced Friday. Walker will be a junior next season at OU.

A 6-2, 200-pounder from Vaughan, Ontario (just north of Toronto), Walker attended Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa, the last two seasons and was a second-team all-region selection this past year. He averaged 16.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game in 28 outings as a sophomore to lead the Reivers to a 23-8 record. He shot 41.8 percent from the field, 39.5 percent from 3-point range (73 for 185) and 72.4 percent from the free throw line.

As a freshman in 2012-13, Walker averaged 14.2 points and 1.8 assists a contest in 35 games while shooting 40.0 percent from the floor, 37.1 percent from 3-point distance (66 for 178) and 75.8 percent from the foul line. He helped Iowa Western to the National Junior College Athletic Association national tournament in Hutchinson, Kan., where it eventually lost in the quarterfinals. He scored 22 points in an opening-round win and 15 points in the loss. Iowa Western finished 32-3 and was the national tournament's No. 1 seed.

"Dinjiyl brings the versatility to play both the point and off-guard positions," said Kruger, who is 43-22 the last two seasons at OU. "He's the type of player who makes his teammates better. Having played for Coach Jim Morris at Iowa Western, Dinjiyl brings a very solid basketball foundation both offensively and defensively, and we expect him to fit in extremely well right away."

Said Walker, "After meeting Coach Kruger, all the assistants and playing with the players on my visit (Thursday), I felt Oklahoma would be a great fit. I really like the way they play -- they play fast and like to get up and down -- and my mom and I were very impressed with the academic center."

Walker said he can help the Sooners in a variety of ways.

"I think I bring a lot of things to the table -- mostly scoring and distributing the ball," said Walker. "I like to play combo guard, which is what OU is bringing me in to do. I can shoot it and get to the rack, and I like to create openings and feed my teammates. If they're hitting shots, that's makes me feel as good as when I'm hitting shots."

Morris, longtime Iowa Western coach, said, "Dinjiyl's a very strong, physical guard. He was very good for us for two seasons and was an all-region selection this year. He shoots the ball well and he can play the point, too.

"He's very, very competitive and he likes to win. He can score in a lot of ways. He drives the ball well with his strength and he's also a good shooter. He also defends very well. He did all that for us for two years against a very competitive schedule. He's a good player and a good kid. He'll be missed."

Walker started his high school career at Vaughan Secondary School before playing his junior and senior seasons at Academy of the New Church near Philadelphia, Pa. He was a first-team Class A Pennsylvania Sportswriters All-State selection as a senior when he averaged 21.2 points per game.

Walker said some of his AAU teammates in Canada included Anthony Bennett (formerly of UNLV; 2013 No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick), Tyler Ennis (formerly of Syracuse; 2014 freshman All-American), Naz Long (Iowa State) and Nik Stauskas (formerly of Michigan; 2014 Big Ten Player of the Year).

Walker will join an OU program that went 23-10 last year and finished in second place in the Big 12 Conference. The Sooners return 68 percent of their scoring, 70 percent of their rebounding and 73 percent of their assists next season and are projected as a preseason top-25 squad by most national prognosticators.