Herb's 2008 class - to put it bluntly - was pretty bad.
However, 2009 looks to be a different story, and it could not have come at a better time.
With the departure of James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph, ASU lost it's two best players, its best rebounder, best inside scorers, best best best.
That production will need to be picked up partially by the returning players and partially by the incoming freshman. This class has the potential to make the loss of our two studs sting a little less.
Demetrius Walker - SG 6'3 190, ESPN Scouts, Inc Grade 92, Top 100 player #74
Walker is an interesting player. Bursting onto the scene 4 years ago via SI labeling him "The Next LeBron", Walker has not exactly become what he was once believed to be. He has not grown taller in those four years like many thought he would and is now a slightly undersized 2-guard, sometimes masquerading as a PG.
Latest scouting report is from August of '08.
August 2008 -Walker doesn't have great upside, but there are few prospects in the country that play as hard as him. He has a chiseled physique and it's been like that since his freshman year. He is first and foremost a scorer and he can hurt the opposition in many ways. He's at his best in transition where he attacks the basket with reckless abandon - usually with a thunderous dunk. Although he has very good straight-ahead speed and a quick first step to the basket, he has limited lateral quickness. When defenders get into him that can match his strength he struggles getting to the basket. His jump shot has improved since last season, but it's still streaky. He gets great lift on his shot and he can stop on a dime, but most of the time it has a hard landing. He needs to hone his perimeter handle, particularly his left hand, and continue to smoothen out his jump shot to play at the highest level. Despite these drawbacks to his game, his effort level is unquestionable.
2007 - Walker is another victim of the "middle school hype-machine" that elevated him to stardom before taking a bounce at the high school level. After a pedestrian two years of high school basketball it appears Walker is beginning to develop into a solid basketball player with the potential of playing at the division one level someday. He has a solid frame with broad shoulders and long arms. He has a quick first step to the basket and he's quite bouncy - though he's primarily a two-footed jumper. His jump shot (mechanical in its release) needs some refining but he makes enough of them where you have to honor it. His handle - particularly his left hand - needs some polishing, primarily in the half-court set. He's an adept passer - especially in the open court - however in the half-court set he has a flair for the spectacular instead of making the simple play. Walker plays hard at both ends and has the potential to be a solid defender at the next level due to his length - though his lateral quickness is just adequate at this point.
As a freshman I would not be surprised to see Walker start some games, struggle some, then become a stronger contributor later on in Pac-10 play. It will be interesting to see if he can run the team from the PG position, or if he is only interested in being a scorer.
The highlight of our 2009 class, if Walker has an inch or two left in him, he could turn out like Randy Foye or Russell Westbrook - extremely athletic, somewhat of a distrubutor, and a big time scorer.
Expectation for 2009:
Do not be surprised if Walker is in the starting lineup opening night. He he so athletic he will be an asset on defense and someone who can attack the rim - something we wished Harden would do a bit more last season - with the best of them.
Maybe a little less, maybe a little more. He will take minutes from Ty Abbott, but in a good way. Let Abbott focus more on what he does best, he will not have to carry so much of a load on offense.