Nov. 13, 2013
DAVIS, Calif. - UC Davis men's basketball opened the fall signing period in impressive fashion by signing Elyria High prospect Isaiah Walton to a National Letter of Intent as announced by head coach Jim Les Wednesday. Walton is the inaugural member of the Aggies' incoming class of 2014 and is scheduled to enroll at UC Davis next fall.
"As a staff we couldn't be more excited to have Isaiah join our basketball family," said Les. "He is a very skilled and athletic guard who makes us immediately better on the basketball floor. He is an explosive scorer that can make plays for himself, as well as others."
Added Les, "Isaiah also has tremendous character and is a motivated student, he fits perfectly into the culture of a UC Davis student-athlete."
"(UC Davis) is ranked No. 8 in the country for its academics as a public school and they have the programs that I am thinking about majoring in. The environment was really positive and the people were really nice and welcoming," said Walton.
The newest member of Aggie men's basketball is planning to major in human studies or communication.
Hailing from Oberlin, Ohio, the 6-foot-3 senior, lauded as one of the top guards in Ohio's Class of 2014 by numerous prep pundits, committed to the UC Davis shortly after his official visit.
"I liked everything about the campus," said Walton. "The people were really nice, the gym and the athletic facilities are great and the campus is so nice, it actually looks like a vacation resort.
"Coach Les played in the NBA at the same position that I play, so who better for me to learn from?"
As a junior, Walton averaged 17.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.2 steals as Elyria's primary shooting guard. In addition to scoring a career-high 30 points against Parma High School during league competition last season, Walton also guided his Pioneers to an 18-6 record. By helping his team earn a berth in the Division I district semifinals, the Northeast Conference and Lorain County each named Walton to their respective all-league and all-county first teams.
A fixture in his team's starting lineup, Elyria head coach Brett Larrick, is confident that Walton's versatility will help him make an immediate impact once he arrives to Davis.
"Isaiah is an ideal combo point guard. He has good size, physical ability, knows when to pass and when to shoot," said Larrick.
At last month's All-Ohio Nike City Series, a tournament that featured teams from the state's top six cities, Walton drew rave reviews from those in attendance, including SB Nation's Zach Fleer.
(Walton is) one of Cleveland's top seniors over the weekend. An athletic shooting guard, Walton is a good shooter and active defender. Once he gets going, Walton can be deadly from the perimeter with his streaks shooting. Walton has a very good pull-up jump shot and is a tough matchup for opposing guards. Look for Walton to be one of Cleveland's top seniors in 2013-'14. - Zach Fleer (Oct. 28, 2013)
Even though numerous east coast, Mid-American Conference and Horizon League schools also pursued Walton, the Aggies were his top choice since his initial conversations with the staff.
"I had the chance to meet a couple of their coaches since the recruiting process started, and from the way they communicated with me I thought it would be a perfect fit," explained Walton. "I felt they had what I needed academically, on the court with type of offense and defense the team runs and a great coaching staff."
Walton hails from a basketball family; his father Harold was a standout guard at Kent State where he earned all-freshman and all-league recognition from the Mid American Conference. Also a member of the program, as part of its staff, was current UC Davis assistant coach Chris Davis.
"My father told me Coach Davis is a good guy and a real straight shooter. What you see is what you get with him, and I liked that," said I. Walton.
UC Davis will open its four-game road trip at Utah on Friday, Nov. 15, the first of three nationally televised contests featuring the Aggies this year. Jason Knapp and Dan Dickau will call the action for the Pac-12 Network, tipoff from the Jon M. Huntsman Center is scheduled for 7 p.m. (PT).