IMG Academy Teammates Keyonte George, Jarace Walker Set to Play Together at Nike Hoop Summit
Keyonte George (pictured above) and Jarace Walker have formed a dynamic duo this season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
Next month, they’ll team up again in the opposite corner of the country.
The 6-foot-4-inch George, one of the top high school shooting guards in the nation, and the 6-foot-7-inch Walker, one of the country’s elite power forward prospects, were recently named to the USA Nike Hoop Summit roster. The prep school teammates will compete in Portland, Oregon, as a team of top American high school seniors takes on a squad of elite international players on April 8.
“Getting selected for the Nike Hoop Summit, wearing USA across my chest and playing with other high-caliber guys, it’s just a blessing,” said George, who is originally from Lewisville, Texas. “I’m really excited to get to work and hopefully win the game.”
George previously played for USA Basketball at the FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup last summer. He was named the MVP of the tournament as the U.S. finished 6-0, capped by a win over Estonia in the championship game.
Walker, who hails from New Freedom, Pennsylvania, has appeared in four training camps and minicamps for USA Basketball teams over the last several years.
“This means a lot,” he said. “Being on this 12-man roster, I was just very blessed and fortunate to hear my name called. To play for the country, that’s something bigger than myself.”
This season, George and Walker have guided IMG Academy to a 20-4 record entering the Geico High School Nationals on March 31-April 2, where they will be the No. 2 seed in the eight-team event.
“As a team, we’re doing well,” George said. “We’ve had ups and downs — that comes with the game of basketball — but we came together as a group. I just feel like we really progressed, learned our identity as players and figured out each other.”
“It’s been a really good year,” Walker added, “but we still have a lot more to accomplish.”
From a personal standpoint, George noted that he focused on improving defensively this season, while Walker’s shooting is the primary area that he’s been looking to improve.
George, 18, will take his fluid offensive game to Baylor University next season, while Walker, 18, won’t be far away at the University of Houston.
Both players have watched their future teams closely during the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament, knowing that their opportunity to compete in March Madness is just a year away.
“Hopefully we can make it far,” George said of the 2022-23 Baylor squad. “Hopefully we can win it all. I’m just glad to get an opportunity.”
“I’m just excited to be a leader and make an impact,” Walker said, looking ahead to next season at Houston. “I hope we can build on the success that they’re having now.”
In the meantime, George and Walker hope to continue their run of success at Geico Nationals — and then at the Nike Hoop Summit — while continuing to make each other better every step of the way.
“We go after it in practice every day,” Walker said. “We know how to create for ourselves and our teammates, and we definitely make each other better.”
Walker and George are one of three sets of high school teammates that will be playing together for the U.S. at the Nike Hoop Summit. They’ve known each other’s game before they even started playing at IMG Academy, something they can use to their advantage on April 8.
“I watched (Walker) over the years and I had a chance to play against him in AAU,” George said. “But just being on the same court as him, man, he’s able to do it all. So, the two-man game between me and him, it’s hard to stop. We’re always in the gym together. We know each other’s game. In school, we push each other to get work done. On and off the court, the work that we have put in together, it’s paid off.”
Drew Silverman is a freelance contributor to USAB.com on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.