UNC Basketball: Breaking down the Tar Heels’ 2020 recruiting class

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Kerwin Walton — Hopkins, MN

SG | 6-foot-5 | 195 lbs | No. 115 overall

Brandon Huffman’s sudden decision to transfer — a move that led him to Jacksonville State, where he’ll likely be afforded more playing time — shifted the course of the offseason for the Tar Heels by gifting Roy Williams an additional scholarship spot. Jeremiah Francis’ own transfer announcement, which came two weeks later, solidified the inevitable: UNC wasn’t done on the recruiting trail.

With a dearth of perimeter shot-making on last season’s roster, Williams was certain to target whatever shooting he could find. In Hopkins star Kerwin Walton, who averaged 26.4 points as a senior, Williams found his shooter.

Though his shot is, in a word, funky, the 6’5” guard possesses touch in the purest sense, translating in-game in the form of net-scorching threes and sky-scraping floaters. According to his coach, Ken Novak, Walton’s shooting percentages are nothing short of special (90% FT as a junior, 85% FT and 50% 3PT as a senior). It’s not possible to verify these claims, given that these stats aren’t readily available online, but a 39.6% mark (106 attempts, 14 games) on the Adidas Circuit speaks some truth to his coach’s praises.

In addition to his off-the-catch game — which includes some off-movement and off-screen versatility — Walton flashes some potential in terms of shot creation (especially in the mid-post), though he’s lacking in terms of burst and vertical pop. Combined with a noticeably loose handle, it’s questionable whether the (nonetheless impressive) self-creation at Hopkins will translate to the college level. And, in terms of creating for others, Walton can handle the occasional secondary pick-and-roll and entry pass, but he’s rather limited as a facilitator overall.

There isn’t much to write home about when it comes to Walton’s defensive acumen, for better or worse. He’s well-built and flashes the occasional quick hip turn when closing out on shooters, but his off-ball instincts (specifically with regards to event creation, playmaking, and rim rotations) are rather lackluster, though he doesn’t stand out as a clear negative, either.

Kerwin Walton gives Roy Williams the extra shooting that he’s been clamoring for — both for this season and the three to come.

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