CHAPEL HILL, NC – Kerwin Walton aims to gather professional feedback to improve his game by utilizing the NBA Draft process. The league confirmed his entry on Wednesday morning. The 6-foot-5 rising junior has until June 1 to remove himself from the draft and still be eligible for the 2022-23 season.
Walton averaged 3.4 points on 37.3% shooting (35.4 3FG%) while averaging 13.4 minutes in 31 games played in 2021-22. The Hopkins, Minn. native provided offensive firepower for Roy Williams’ final team as a freshman, but his role was diminished during UNC’s national title game run this past season.
As a freshman, Walton won the program’s Marvin Williams Carolina Way Award, which is given to the Tar Heel who most exemplifies playing hard and being a team player. He thrived both on and off the court, earning a spot on the Academic All-ACC team while leading the team in 3-pointers (58) and 3-point field goal percentage (42.0). The 6-foot-5, 210-pound guard set the UNC freshman record for the highest 3-point field goal percentage with at least 50 made threes – a record previously held by Rashad McCants (41.4) in 2002-03 – and started Carolina’s final 20 games outside of Senior Night against Duke.
Walton’s freshman spark was lacking in his sophomore season under first-year head coach Hubert Davis, who challenged the sharp-shooting wing to be more aggressive offensively early in the season.
“[I have to be] more intentional in terms of calling specific plays for him,” Davis said in December. “So that is something, me being the head coach and coaching Kerwin, that I have learned and grown in terms of — he prefers calling an actual play for him . But it’s also a two-way street, so he has to be aggressive as well. He has been doing a great job of that in practice. As I said before, I think he is one of the better shooters and basketball players in the country. I am really looking forward to him being more aggressive out there on the floor. Us being able to intentionally set screens, look for him, and get him open because — on both ends of the floor, but specifically offensively — he is somebody who can really help out this team a lot.
“One of the things that I told him is that he is going to have to be more aggressive. He is going to have to move more. One of the ways is to set screens. I’ve always believed that the person that usually sets the screen, that is the one that usually gets open, but he has to actively work hard to come off screens, to run in transition, to be hard to guard.”
Walton averaged 10 points through UNC’s first three games and then only reached double figures once more all season. He attempted six field goal attempts in 29 total minutes over UNC’s final 13 games.