March 18, 2024

Sam Walters’ Journey: From Spectator to NCAA Tournament Player

2 min read| Published On: March 18th, 2024|

By Kyle Coppola

Sam Walters’ Journey: From Spectator to NCAA Tournament Player

2 min read| Published On: March 18th, 2024|

Sam Walters is about to live out his childhood fantasy. The former Villages Charter High School basketball star is set to embark on his first NCAA Basketball Tournament appearance. However, the last time Sam Walters attended an NCAA Basketball Tournament game, he was a spectator. Now, he will play for the University of Alabama as they face Charleston in Spokane, Washington, on Friday, March 22nd.

(Sam Walters has had a big impact in his freshman season for the Crimson Tide.)

For Sam Walters, this is an amazing moment. He becomes the latest Villages basketball star to play in the NCAA basketball tournament. Tre Mann played in the tournament with the Florida Gators a few years ago before being drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Mann has since been traded to the Charlotte Hornets, where he currently plays.

For the Walters family, this is so exciting. Having watched Sam play throughout high school, I always knew he was destined for greatness. Now, we get to see him, along with the rest of Alabama, play at the highest level in college basketball.

(Walters during his playing days with The Villages. He would become part of the first Villages High School team to ever make a State Championship game.)

Alabama made it in as a 4 seed in the tournament. They will face tough competition. Charleston is a great team and finished at 27-7. If Alabama makes it past Charleston, they will play either Saint Mary’s or Grand Canyon.

Sam’s mom, Heidi Jones Walters, posted on social media, “From watching from the stands to playing on the court.” Walters has played three years of high school basketball for The Villages. He also played one year at Montverde Academy in Montverde, Florida.

(Sam Walters will get to live out a childhood dream by stepping on the court for the NCAA Tournament. Alabama will be all business as they have a great chance to make the sweet 16 this season. It starts by beating Charleston on Friday.)

What a thrill this is not only for Walters but also for all the student-athletes competing in the NCAA Tournament. We also have another former Villages player who will be in the tournament, although we have heard he has elected to take a redshirt season. Nasir Mann, the brother of Tre Mann, plays for McNeese State, and they have made it to the NCAA Tournament as well where they will play Gonzaga in the first round. While Mann has elected to take a redshirt year, he is a part of the team. It’s a very exciting time to be a fan of Villages Boys Basketball with even more talent coming through the pipeline in the coming years.

Congratulations to Sam Walters on living out his childhood dreams. We look forward to seeing what the Crimson Tide can do in the NCAA Tournament.”

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About the Author: Kyle Coppola

Kyle Coppola was born in Newton, Massachusetts and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications from Curry College in 2016. After traveling to Florida on a family vacation, he decided he could not get enough of the warm weather and made the move from snowy Massachusetts to central Florida 8 years ago.

For the last decade Kyle has gained valuable experience in social media content creation, marketing and sales, writing, video production, sports announcing and even broadcasting for local radio stations, such as FM 102.9 in The Villages and FM 91.5 in Massachusetts. Every year he volunteers at The Villages Charter High School as a play-by-play sports announcer for the football games as well as a public address announcer for the basketball games, including the annual Battle at The Villages Tournament.

Outside the office Kyle is a husband and father to two beautiful girls along with their cat. In his spare time he likes to spend time with his family, travel, play golf and swim. He is also a huge sports junkie and even bigger motorsports fan and loves to attend racing events when he can.

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