The Twitter account of Jim Reamer, head coach of the Indy Heat (K.J. Walton’s AAU team), posted on Tuesday afternoon that Missouri guard K.J. Walton, a junior-to-be, is transferring.
KJ Walton, Brownsburg, has received his release from Missouri and will be transferring. He will have two years remaining. @Kj_Walton1— Indy Heat EYBL 2020 (@IndyHeatJWR) April 4, 2017
Later in the evening, a Mizzou statement confirmed that Walton isn’t the only one.
Mizzou Men's Basketball announced Tuesday that sophomore guard K.J. Walton and freshman guard Frankie Hughes will transfer from the program.
"We wish K.J. and Frankie the best in their future academic and athletic pursuits," head coachCuonzo Martin said. "We will support both of them as much as possible, and assist in their transitions to the best of our ability.”
Walton averaged 6.0 points per game for his career, including a 6.7 mark this past season. He appeared in 63 career games, with 24 starts. Hughes appeared in 30 games in his only season with the Tigers, averaging 7.6 points per game.
Cuonzo Martin suggested that he was expecting at least a couple of transfers, and both Walton and Hughes were on the “We wouldn’t be surprised if...” list.
Walton was eighth on the team in minutes at 19.3 this year. For some reason, Anderson never had the trust level with Walton he did with Cullen VanLeer, Jordan Geist, or Frankie Hughes, all of whom claimed more minutes than Walton on the season.
The deficiencies in Walton’s game are obvious — he’s a poor outside shooter and has a very limited mid-range game. There’s a bit of an odd hitch in his jump shot, which prevents him from developing in that regard.
What Walton does to well is get to the rim, and draw contact on his way there. Amazingly, even with Walton’s seeming inability to make shots outside of five feet, and with defenders basically ignoring him when he caught the ball outside the three-point line, he still managed to drive to the rim and draw fouls. His rebound rate went way up, and he drew more fouls, yet just about everything else went down statistically.
Shooting percentages, offensive rating, both down with a small uptick in minutes. Walton’s inability to make shots from range prevent him from taking the big next step offensively, and the one thing he needs to do is reconstruct his shot.
Evidently that reconstruction will be happening elsewhere.
In 63 games, Walton averaged 6.0 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. Good luck to him.
Hughes, meanwhile, averaged 7.6 points per game in his lone season in Columbia but spent most of the season in a prolonged shooting slump. He came out of the gates on fire, averaging 13.6 points per game in the first nine games of his career. But he averaged only 5.1 thereafter. And after making nine of his first 22 3-pointers, he then made just 22 of his next 107 attempts. He finished the season hitting 27 percent of his 3-pointers, 35 percent of his 2s, and 57 percent of his free throws.
Meanwhile, the same source had news about fellow Tiger guard Jordan Geist:
Since I got three quick texts, Jordan Geist, also of Missouri, will remain at Missouri. @jordangeist12— Indy Heat EYBL 2020 (@IndyHeatJWR) April 4, 2017
We’ll see if that indeed comes to pass.