While Penn men’s basketball has seen several program mainstays exit via the transfer portal this offseason, the Quakers have still been players in the market themselves.
That is what led to the addition of Johnnie Walter, a 6-foot-10 big man who joins the Red and Blue from California State University Northridge. Walter saw limited playing time during his freshman season at CSUN, but now joins the Quakers with three years of eligibility.
"I chose Penn because of the culture within the community and the basketball program,” Walter said of his decision. “The amazing education plays a huge part as well, and the coaching staff made me feel very welcome. Penn is somewhere where I believe I will be pushed to be the best possible student athlete I can be."
Prior to his freshman season, Walter starred in his post-graduate year at the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn., averaging 17 points per game and leading Hotchkiss to a conference title. Walter’s most potent skill is attacking the basket, but his 80% clip from the free-throw line at Hotchkiss also suggests some upside as a shooter.
Penn has lost three players to the transfer portal this offseason: guard Jordan Dingle, guard Lucas Monroe, and forward Gus Larson. Walter is most clearly comparable to Larson — who also stands at 6-foot-10 — but only time will tell how he will be implemented into the Quaker lineup.
“I am excited to add Johnnie to our roster," coach Steve Donahue said. "In watching Johnnie, we saw a guy who competes on every play and has a combination of length and strength that allows him to impact the game at both ends of the floor. He has a high basketball IQ and a reputation for being a great teammate who makes the players around him better.”