EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Any doubts Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy guard Derrick Walton Jr. might have entertained on the basketball court dissipated last summer in Las Vegas.
Walton led the Michigan Mustangs to an unbeaten run for an AAU national championship in July and claimed Most Valuable Player honors.
More importantly, the 6-foot Michigan recruit learned how far he could take his game, his high school coach and father said.
"It taught Derrick he could play with anybody," Chandler Park coach Derrick Walton said.
Walton went on to average 26 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds and five steals as a senior this winter at Chandler Park.
The performance earned Walton Associated Press Class B Player of the Year honors.
"It means a lot," Walton said of his team's success and the individual recognition. "It means we are doing things right."
Walton headlines an AP Class B All-State first team that includes seniors Keith Brushwhyler of Stevensville Lakeshore, Quantrell Hastings of Wyoming Godwin Heights, Jalen Hayes of Lansing Sexton, Dontel Highsmith of Dowagiac, Austin Johnson of Spring Lake, Mizell Lippett of Warren Fitzgerald, Josh Kozinski of Edwardsburg, Lance Monroe of Bridgeport and Ryan Schall of Comstock Park, as well as juniors Darrell Davis of Detroit Douglass and Edmond Sumner of Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day.
Both Walton and Highsmith were unanimous first-team selections.
Stevensville Lakeshore's Sean Schroeder is the Class B Coach of the Year.
Walton led Chandler Park to a 20-4 overall record, winning a district title before losing in the regional semifinals to Detroit Country Day.
"His leadership and his confidence," Derrick Walton said of the areas of improvement he saw in his son's game as a senior after the AAU championship last summer. "He was very confident he could make shots. He led verbally. He also led by example. He did everything I asked him to do and beyond."