High school basketball standout Kyree Walker has become the latest high-end prospect to spurn college for an alternative option.
Walker has elected to join Chameleon BX, an intensive training program that already had fellow top prospects MarJon Beauchamp and JD Tsasa on its roster, in lieu of going to school.
Walker had more than 18 Division I offers, including from top-tier basketball programs like Kansas, LSU, Memphis, Michigan, and UCLA. However, he instead chose to join the year-long training program.
“It’s different from what other people are thinking,” Walker said. “You create your own wave in how you want to do things. It’s not the ideal thing… but you should do what you want to do, not what other people think is better for you.”
Walker’s introduction to Chameleon BX came during his sophomore year of high school. Playing AAU basketball for Dream Vision, he had an opportunity to train in Los Angeles with Frank Matrisciano, founder of Chameleon BX.
Although he remembers the workouts being extremely difficult – a trademark comment on Matrisciano’s training methods – Walker always thought about what opportunities to pursue after high school.
In the last two weeks, Walker sat at home and began wondering what his future was. After giving it more thought, he envisioned it being with Chameleon BX.
“I started locking down on what I want to do, what’s the goal for me, and what’s really my purpose of playing the game,” he said. “Is it to just be okay, or is it to try to be one of the best players in the league? So I had to think about it with them.”
Alongside Beauchamp and Tsasa, Walker will be trained by a “who’s who” of NBA experts. In addition to Matrisciano, who has worked with athletes like Blake Griffin and Von Miller, former NBA coaches Bob Hill, Dave Joerger, and Mike Woodson are only a handful of the coaches involved with Chameleon BX.
Hill has long been frustrated with the popularity of the NCAA’s one-and-done policy. Instead of blue-chip recruits being forced to juggle both basketball and college classes, they can enroll in Chameleon BX, and have that be their primary commitment.
“A young man doesn’t really learn much about professional basketball going to college for a year,” Hill told Front Office Sports in January. “That’s where a place like Frank’s program comes into play. A young man is going to benefit so much more physically, mentally, skill-wise, understanding what he’s getting into in terms of professional basketball – spending a year with Frank – than he was going to college and going to class every day when he’s really not interested in going to class.”
That belief was shared by Tsasa, whose interests do not align with some of the responsibilities of being a college athlete.
“I also wouldn’t have wanted to go the NCAA route because of the course load work,” Tsasa told Front Office Sports in January. “I probably would have been taking some engineering classes and physics classes that would have taken way too much time out of my schedule. I just want to train and focus on my basketball game.”
Recently, other prospects have chosen a route around the NCAA. On April 16, Jalen Green – a potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 – announced that he was bypassing college to become the G-League’s first participant in its professional pathway program. It is rumored that the NBA will remove its so-called ‘one and done’ rule after the 2021 season.
But Matrisciano is confident that when it comes to preparing high-school recruits, nothing is better for them than Chameleon BX.
“There’s nothing that can touch this,” Matrisciano told Front Office Sports in January. “The coaches I have involved, they’re the ones that are like, ‘you know, it is embarrassing now to hear someone try to do their best to pick something [negative] out of this.’ It’s embarrassing to hear it from them.”
“It’s 12 years in the making, it’s finally coming out, and I’m going to blow this crap out of the water. I’m going to revolutionize the way kids go from high school to pro – and it’s that fast,” he added.
Chameleon BX declined to comment on this specific story.
While Matrisciano’s intense training is well-documented, Walker believes that it will pay off for him. In his mind, he needs someone like Matrisciano to help get him in shape for the physical demands of a full, 82-game NBA season. He also needs to lean on the tutelage of Chameleon BX’s NBA-quality staff, who can teach them the ins-and-outs of defensive and office tactics.
Naturally, there have been critics of Walker’s decision to bypass college. In the last 24 hours, people online have responded negatively to it, even those who he claims were always supportive of him and his career.
Despite the criticism, Walker is not fazed by joining Chameleon BX. Although he knows that challenges do lie ahead, it was ultimately his decision to make – and the one that made the most sense to him.
“I didn’t do it to make nobody happy,” Walker said. “I’m not doing it for them. I did it for me and what’s best for me. I just have to work a hundred times harder than other people have to do. I’m not a college athlete, so I’ll have to work harder because I’m not going to be in front of a lot of the NBA scouts.”
“I can’t slip up; I can’t do wrong things – I’ll just have to work harder than the other people,” he added.