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May 27, 2012UCF could be making a late addition to their 2012 basketball recruiting class.
Daiquan Walker, one of the nation's top unsigned players, will make his way to Orlando on Monday for the beginning of his first official visit.
The senior point guard from Philadelphia (Penn.) Constitution is a player the Knights have targeted for almost two years, but until recently didn't believe they'd have another available scholarship for the upcoming year.
"The possibility has occured that somebody is leaving (UCF), so that's how it came about," said Walker's mentor, Guillermo "Giz" Beitler. "It really works out. We really like UCF and hold them in real high regard. I think the world of (assistant coach) Tim Thomas and (head coach) Donnie Jones."
UCF is one in a long list of schools recruiting the 6-foot-3 Walker. Temple, Providence, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Arizona, South Carolina, Florida State, Maryland, Nebraska and a host of others had offered, but Bietler says he's settled on a final group that includes UCF, Tulsa, Seton Hall and Niagara.
"He's sifting through everything, but UCF is definitely high on his list," Bietler said. "He likes Tulsa as well and has a visit scheduled there for next week. Those are the main schools he's looking at right now."
Some reports indicated Walker was thinking about going the prep school route and reclassifying to the Class of 2013, but it wouldn't be for a lack of grades. Bietler said Walker was fully qualified with both the necessary GPA and test score.
"It's never been a rush for Daiquan," Bietler said. "Some kids want to sign early and other kids late. He's never been concerned with the name of the school. Daiquan is all about relationships. He's done everything the right way. He's gone to school and got the grades. He's earned it. He's worked hard. For him, it's really about what's the best fit. He's been building relationships with all these coaches and that's not always easy. It's taken a little longer than expected."
Walker does have some ties to the Sunshine State. He spent the early part of his life in South Florida and began his high school career at American Heritage in Plantation before moving to Philadelphia.
This will be his first visit to UCF. Bietler had the opportunity to see the future Big East school last summer.
"I loved the campus," Bietler said. "I was first there about 10 years ago visiting a fraternity brother and a lot has changed since then. It's definitely the place to be. It's a real nice place. I know Daiquan will like it when he gets down there and sees the campus and facilities."
The Knights' style of play is another appealing factor.
"UCF's situation is a lot like Villanova where they play three guards," Bietler said. "If you can beat your guy off the dribble, I guess you'll play. He'd be able to do that. 'Nova recruited him as well and that's the same system. UCF gets up and down and lets their guards facilitate what they're able to do."
Initially, the Knights would look for Walker to play more of a combo guard role.
"He'll have the freedom to be able to do what he's able to do," Bietler said. "Not to say he's going to come in and average 30 a game, but if you watch Daiquan play he's more of a facilitator. That's what separates him from most of the guys. Most guys are either pure point guards and not good shooters or scorers, but good distributors. Some point guards are shooters and more of a two guard than a point guard. They don't have the IQ.
"What's intriguing about Daiquan is he's able to do both. Not many guys in this class can go right, left and score off the bounce. He can do it all. His IQ is incredible. He looks to get other guys involved. He can choose when he wants to score and when to pass."
Walker, who turned 18 in January, could still grow a couple more inches. Bietler says he got a lot stronger over the past year and continues to develop physically.
"He'd definitely be a steal," Bietler said. "He's definitely a high-major player. UCF is going into the Big East and Daiquan would definitely help them prepare for that."
UCF's recruiting class currently stands at three players: Staphon Blair, Dylan Karell and Matt Williams signed last November and are expected to enroll in late June.
Video: Daiquan Walker 2011-12 Highlights