Derrick Walton had the opportunity to travel the world this spring before venturing back out onto the AAU circuit. The future Michigan point guard represented the United States at the annual Albert Schweitzer tournament in Germany over the first two weeks in April.
Walton played on an 11 man USA team featuring Stevie Clark, Darryl Hicks, Austin Nichols and Kentucky bound Derek Willis and a number of other highly regarded 2013 prospects. Walton held his own with Team USA, averaging 8.0 points and a team high 3.3 assists per game throughout the event.
Team USA closed the tournament on a high note and the 6-foot guard played his best game of the tournament, scoring 20 points in an 87-81 victory over France to earn Team USA a seventh place finish.
Seventh place may appear disappointing at first glance but Walton pointed out that this United States team had barely played together before traveling to Germany.
“As a team we started off kind of shaky, just getting accustomed to each other. I think we did good for just meeting each other three days prior to the trip. I knew Steve [Haney] and Colin [Hartman] but that was it. We mostly just got to know each during the trip and during practice [overseas].”
Beyond a lack of experience as a team, the 6-foot guard emphasized that the talent overseas was impressive.
“It was insane. Those guys were really good. The best team we played against was the team that won it all, Spain.”
Personally, the Chandler Park native was pleased with how he played. “I think it helped me a lot and I think I played really well. The experience should help me a lot [coming back home against AAU teams]”
The two weeks in Germany weren’t all about basketball either. Walton and his teammates had the opportunity to explore the sights overseas. Walton was quick to point out that life in Germany was “really different” but reiterated that the two week trip was a great experience that included everything from exploring downtown to touring castles.
Walton also reflected on his highschool season, nothing that the end – a 30 point regional final loss to Detroit Country Day – was disappointing but making it clear that it was a successful season overall.
“It ended kind of bad, not bad but not the way expected to do. We had a good run and, personally, this was my best year.”
Now his sights are set to Las Vegas where he’ll make his summer league debut with the Michigan Mustangs. The Mustangs made a large off season acquisition, adding Flint Beecher point guard Monte Morris to the roster, and the move excited Walton.
“I feel good about it. I missed [AAU basketball]. Two basketball players are going to love to play together regardless [of position].”
Together, Morris and Walton have the potential to be one of the more dynamic guard duos on the summer circuit.