St. Joseph's JoJo Walker has all the tools needed to score at an elite level.
He deftly handles the ball with either hand. He can also finish with his left or his right. Walker is incredibly quick and though he stands just a bit under 6-feet, he is a long, rangy athlete able to explode off the floor and attack the rim. He's also fearless and has that ideal scorer's mentality, relentlessly attacking opposing defenses.
Then it comes as no surprise that Walker has been voted the All-Area Offensive Player of the Year.
Walker averaged more than 23 points this year for the Knights, who went 22-5 during the regular season and finished second in the PAC 8 League.
Walker was chosen the All-Area MVP last year as he led the Knights to a co-league championship and a CIF Southern Section divisional championship. He most likely would've repeated as the area MVP this year if he hadn't missed three-plus games with an ankle injury he suffered against Atascadero in mid-January.
Walker acknowledged that the season was a bit of a grind and missing those PAC 8 games gave him some extra motivation in the second round of league play.
"I'm sad I got hurt and missed those games we lost," Walker said. "It's basketball. It happens. You just have to get back and get to work. It sucks to be hurt, but when I'm on the bench I can see different things that I don't see on the court and when I get back I try to fix.
"I've been hurt before, I know how it feels," Walker added. "When I got back, I was just trying to get revenge on everybody that beat us. And it worked."
His value was still apparent in his absence. The Knights blew a big lead in that Atascadero game, falling 74-63 for their first league loss. They then had to scratch and claw their way past Righetti 82-75 in the following game.
"JoJo, when he was out, I definitely hurt from that, too," St. Joseph senior Scott McBeth said. "I get a lot of my shots from him just because he's such a great facilitator; a great passer."
"He just draws in the defense," Elihu Cobb said of Walker. "Everybody is worried about him. So I'm just wide open pretty much."
Then came the turning point of their season: An 80-40 loss at Mission Prep, the eventual PAC 8 champion on Jan. 17.
After that loss, the Knights were able to regroup a bit, beating San Luis Obispo 89-86 with Walker still out of the lineup. He made his return on Jan. 24, in an 84-35 win over Paso Robles, a game in which Walker scored 12 points.
Walker, who has signed to play at the University of Portland next year, started regain his groove in the game against Pioneer Valley. In that contest, he had 15 points, but he really hit his stride against Arroyo Grande, pouring in 28 points on 17 shots in a Jan. 30 win.
The Knights had just one slip up after Walker's return, falling at rival Righetti 58-45 on Feb. 3. In that game, Walker had 13 points on 4-for-17 shooting from the field. He went 4-for-14 from the line in that contest. That performance proved to be an outlier for Walker.
He and the Knights put that loss behind them and finished the regular season strong, dropping Mission Prep 77-66 in a rematch on Feb. 7. Walker scored 27 points in that game, with 16 points coming in the first quarter alone. Walker went 10-for-16 from the field in that game and 4-for-8 from deep.
On the year, not including the postseason, Walker had 16 games with 20-plus points. His high for the season came in an 83-62 win over Pioneer Valley on Jan. 6 when he poured in 45 points against the Panthers. In that game, Walker hit 16-of-27 shots. He went 7-for-11 from 3-point range and 6-for-7 from the free throw line.
On the year, Walker scored 555 points in the regular season and shot around 46 percent from the field, averaging 23.3 points per game. Walker connected on 64 of his 188 3-point shots, good for a mark of 34 percent.
But Walker is St. Joseph's point guard. And as such, he also revels in his ability to set up teammates. He did that this year to the tune of 7.9 assists per game, racking up 205 assists on the year if you include the postseason.
Walker had six games in the regular season with at least 10 assists, including 17 dimes in the Knights' win over San Tan Hills in a tournament, a 95-47 victory for St. Joseph.
Walker had an incredible stretch in tournament play right around New Year's. On Dec. 31, playing two games in one day, Walker scored 37 points in a 70-66 win over Alchesay. Later that day, he had 38 points against Arizona's Buena. Then came his 45-point outburst against the Panthers on Jan. 6.
One of the highlights of Walker's senior season was that Senior Night win over Mission Prep. Walker wasn't able to enjoy the pre-game festivities that night as he was solely focused on beating the Royals.
"I was focused," he said. "After the game, then I was happy. But I was just focused on trying to win and getting some revenge."
As of this writing, Walker had played 92 games in a St. Joseph uniform and averaged exactly 20 points per game, with a total of 1,841 over three years after the second round of the playoffs. Walker did all this after missing his entire freshman season with a broken leg and coming to St. Joseph from his native Carolina, Puerto Rico knowing almost no English.
"It's been amazing," Walker said of his time at St. Joseph. "But there were hard times. Coming over here not knowing English and everything, it was hard. So many life experiences, though, that will all help me in the future."
For his career, Walker has connected on 616 field goals on 1,433 shots. That's a lot of attempts, but it's also a lot of makes and good for a 43 percent field goal percentage. He's also made 424 free throws in his career.