How many high school programs across America, boy or girls, can say that they have two players ranked in the top 100 nationally.
Well, the #1 ranked team in Arizona and also the #2 ranked team nationally, the St. Mary's Knights, can. The Knights are absolutely loaded with top-rated talent for college coaches to feast on throughout the 2011-2012 high school basketball season, but two of their top two prospects are already off the recruiting board.
5-foot-11 senior guard/forward Shilpa Tummala is already headed to Harvard University, while 6-foot-3 senior forward Cortnee Walton signed with the University of Louisville this fall, and is also ranked among the top 50 players nationally.
Walton is currently ranked as the #53 best player among America's 2012 class by Hoopgurl.com, while Tummala checks in at #68 nationally.
Walton is a special talent and teamed up with Tummala and many of her St. Mary's teammates this spring and summer on the club circuit - competing with the Arizona Warriors.
At 6-foot-3, Walton has excellent size and is capable of playing either forward position on the floor - the small forward or power forward positions. A 3/4 combo-forward, Walton has excellent versatility as a player and can score either with her back to the basket, where she utilizes excellent footwork, or is capable of playing as a 3 - able to handle the basketball from the perimeter and shoot the basketball with range on her shot.
Walton is also a very good passer with the basketball in her hands and has good court vision on the floor - willing to make the pass to the open teammate on the floor. She sees the majority of her time as a 4 for St. Mary's HS head coach Curtis Ekmark, who needs her more at that position for his team. As a collegiate, look for Walton to have much more of an opportunity to play the 3.
Walton is also an active rebounder that is able to rebound outside of her area. Her quickness for her size makes her difficult to keep a body on for bigger post players, and her heigth makes it tough for smaller players to defend her. She is virtually a mismatch for the majority of teams in the state.
She is also a capable shotblocker and has good timing in this area.
Walton has a bright future ahead of her and will look to take her Knights to another state championship this season, after winning it all last season.