Former Villages Basketball sensation Sam Walters, renowned for leading The Villages to the State Championship game last year, made his official debut for the University of Alabama, marking the beginning of his collegiate journey in the world of basketball. The 6’9″ freshman showcased his skills in a notable performance during the Crimson Tide’s dominant 105-73 victory over Morehead State.
(Walters throwing down a very familiar dunk that we got to see many times in Lake County before his first ever game in an Alabama Uniform.)
In his first outing for Alabama, Walters left a lasting impression as he took to the court for 15 minutes, contributing 7 points, a steal, and securing two rebounds. While the game’s highest scorer was Grant Nelson with an impressive 24 points and 7 rebounds, the Walters family was brimming with pride as they watched Sam don the iconic Alabama colors and represent his SEC school.
Walters’ journey to the University of Alabama was a well-traveled one. He began his illustrious career with The Villages before transferring to Montverde Academy for a season, only to return to The Villages to conclude his high school career. The local community was ecstatic to witness his transition to the collegiate level, recognizing that this was just the beginning of a promising career.
(Sam Walters led The Villages to a State Championship game earlier this year in 2023. He now plays plays for Alabama.)
For many freshman players, earning 15 minutes of playing time in their first SEC game is a significant achievement, and for Walters, it was a particularly special moment. The last Villages athlete to make a similar leap into the SEC was Tre Mann, who played for the University of Florida before ascending to the NBA and currently representing the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Throughout his high school career, Walters was a standout performer, averaging an impressive 23 points per game and securing an average of 10 rebounds per game. He was hailed as one of the most talented players to emerge from Lake and Sumter County in recent memory.
(Walters has been fun to watch in preseason contests this year. We cannot wait to see what he does on the court for The Crimson Tide this season.)
The local community and basketball enthusiasts eagerly anticipate watching Sam Walters’ career evolve at the University of Alabama. As he continues to make his mark on the collegiate basketball scene, they remain supportive and excited about the future accomplishments that undoubtedly await this promising young athlete.
Photo Credit: Heidi Walters