Despite being away for the past two years serving a mission for the LDS Church, Dantley Walker, one of Nevada’s best ever high school basketball players, is still eager to step onto the practice floor this fall as a member of the UNLV Rebels incoming recruiting class.
Walker signed a full basketball scholarship with UNLV when he graduated from Lincoln County High School in 2011, but first opted to complete his mission assignment in the states of Washington and Montana.
He has been able to continue some workouts while on the mission, usually about sunrise, lifting weights and doing road work, but could only play basketball on Mondays, his day off.
Walker committed to UNLV shortly before former coach Lon Kruger left to take the head coaching job at Oklahoma.
Dave Rice took over for Kruger, but that didn’t impact either the school or Walker’s commitment.
“One of the first things I did when I got the job was to call Dantley and let him know that I wanted him to play in AAU basketball,” Rice said.
Dantley is the state’s all-time career scoring leader (3,304 points), and assists leader (887) while playing for Lincoln County High in Panaca. Included in an impressing list of state records are most 3-pointers made in a career (475), far ahead of second place Landon Littlefield of Lake Mead (287), and most points in a single game, 73.
He also ranks in the top 10 in steals, but records for him were only kept his junior and senior year, otherwise he might be No. 1 in that category, too.
When he returns from his LDS mission this month, he can enroll at UNLV during the third summer session which begins July 15.
His dad, Greg Walker, said Dantley will begin practicing with the team in a few weeks, and after about three or four months of practice sessions, the coach will decide whether or not Dantley will make the team, or have a redshirt year instead.
Walker knows it will be a tough job playing Division I ball when he admittedly is only pushing 5-11, 165 pounds, yet he is willing to take a redshirt role if necessary.
“I just want to go in and help win games, but whatever they need me to do is what I’ll do,” Walker said.