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Chicago Sun Times
Chicago Sun-Times
22 Apr 2023
https://chicago.suntimes.com/authors/mike-clark


NextImg:Butler star point guard Xamiya Walton commits to Northwestern

Xamiya Walton was a third-grader in 2015 when her dad Xaver snapped a picture of her at a basketball camp with Northwestern coach Joe McKeown.

The elder Walton posted it on Instagram with a caption saying Xamiya “would love the academics here.”

Little did anyone know that chance encounter and offhand comment would lead to something much bigger.

Eight years later, Walton, ranked No. 1 in Butler’s junior class with a 4.6 grade-point average, will be taking her basketball and academic talents to Northwestern after recently committing to the Wildcats.

“It’s close enough to home, but it’s [also] far enough away,” said Walton, who looks forward to playing in front of family and friends. “From the first time I stepped on campus, it just felt right — the players, the coaches, the style of basketball they play.”

Walton has been a big scorer for Butler, especially since fellow Big Ten recruit Camille Jackson left for Illinois after the 2021-22 season. 

The 5-5 point guard averaged 23.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists to help the Lynx to a fourth-place finish in Class 2A last season.

Walton, the 54th-ranked junior nationally according to HoopGurlz, is ready to be a scorer and facilitator for the Wildcats.

“Big Ten teams play similarly,” she said. “The offense runs through the bigs and the guards.”

She likes the fact that McKeown has a history of preparing his players for pro careers, including Veronica Burton and Lindsey Pulliam.

“Playing at the highest level is something I want to do,” Walton said.

Xaver Walton, Butler’s coach, said his daughter’s success didn’t come without effort.

“Her and Camille and my middle daughter, Xyanna, I can remember years of them training in the gym with me two, three hours a night,” the elder Walton said.

Soon, Walton and Jackson could be lining up opposite each other in a Big Ten game.

“That would be cool, guarding her now,” Walton said. “Seeing her go through [the recruiting process] definitely did help me.”

Those long nights in the gym, plus the time Walton spent on academics — she was home-schooled by her mom, Quiana, through eighth grade — has paid off.

She’s glad to be able to turn her attention to the travel-ball season and then her senior year at Butler, which will move up to 3A.

“That’s definitely super exciting,” she said. “AAU season is coming up. I can go out and have fun.”

Wood switches to Duke

Carmel senior Jordan Wood recently announced her commitment to Duke via Twitter.

Wood, the 62nd-ranked senior nationally according to HoopGurlz, originally had committed to Michigan State but reopened her recruiting after the Spartans had a coaching change.

“I’m excited and blessed to be a Blue Devil,” Wood wrote on Twitter. “Duke provides incredible opportunities for both students and athletes to thrive. Coach [Kara] Lawson has a strong determination to help her players succeed at the highest level and I wouldn’t want to be a part of anything else!”