June 19, 2000
Los Angeles - Ryan Walcott, a 6-3 point guard from Shadow Mountain HS in Phoenix, has signed a grant in aid* contract to play basketball at UCLA, Bruin head coach Steve Lavin announced today.
Last February, Walcott helped lead Shadow Mountain to the Arizona 5A State Championship (5A is Arizona's highest classification). In the Feb. 26 79-53 title victory over Highland, Walcott scored 18 points, with nine assists and eight steals. A cousin to Mike Bibby, an Arizona standout who now plays in the NBA for the Vancouver Grizzlies, Walcott last season as a senior averaged 16.2 points and 5.4 assists a game, while shooting 52.0 from two-point range, 40.0 from three-point range and 76.0 from the foul line.
Walcott in 2000 was a USA Today honorable mention All-America and a first-team All-Arizona pick by the Arizona Republic. He was also the co-Player of the Year in the Desert Valley Region, with his senior teammate and Arizona Player of the Year Jamaal Scott, who is headed to Cal Poly-SLO.
"We are thrilled to have Ryan Walcott join the UCLA basketball family," Lavin said. "Ryan comes from an elite high school program and was well-schooled by his coach, Jerry Conner. Our staff believes Ryan's future is very bright."
Jerry Conner, who last winter completed his 26th year as head coach, coaches Shadow Mountain. He has led Shadow Mountain to two AZ 5A State Championships in the last five years. In 1996, Bibby was the starting point guard for Shadow Mountain's State title team. For the last four seasons, Walcott has been the starting point guard. In Shadow Mountain's 1999-2000 State title drive, after starting the season 6-4, Walcott helped lead the team to 21 victories in its last 22 games, including wins over three Top 10 teams to reach the AZ State semi-finals. Shadow Mountain was 27-5 in 1999-2000.
During Walcott's four-year (1997-2000) high school career, Shadow Mountain was 92-37 overall, including a 26-6 mark in 1999 and 21-12 in 1998, and advanced to the Arizona State Tournament all four seasons.
"This was Ryan's fourth year as our starting point guard," Conner said. "He's started just about every game for all four years at Shadow Mountain. He's extremely quick and an excellent shooter from the outside as well. He not only has point guard skills as far as being able to push the ball and pass, but he really possesses the off-guard's ability to shoot the basketball. He's really a complete player, who is very quick on defense. Probably his strong point on defense is his ability to play off the ball and anticipate. He gets a lot of steals doing that."
Notre Dame, Saint Louis and Arizona State all had recruiting interests in Walcott.
Walcott is UCLA's third incoming freshman recruit for the coming season, joining 6-9 T. J. Cummings, from Homewood-Flossmore HS in Homewood, IL and 6-8 Josiah Johnson, from Montclair Prep in Van Nuys.
*Since the official signing dates have passed, incoming student-athletes during this time frame sign a grant in package, not a national letter of intent.