Air Force basketball could lose its top player, as point guard A.J. Walker has entered the NCAA transfer portal.
The returning starter is exploring a departure a week after the firing of coach Dave Pilipovich.
The news was first reported Thursday morning by The Athletic and confirmed by The Gazette.
"He is in the portal," a source told The Gazette. "He will get a ton of interest. Hopefully the new coach can convince him to stay at AF."
Walker averaged 11.1 points per game for the Falcons this past season as a sophomore, shooting 40.3% from 3-point range.
He averaged 22 points in two games at the Mountain West Tournament earlier this month, then told The Gazette he was committed to staying at Air Force.
““Yes sir,” he said. “Of course. For sure.”
But much has changed since then. Even before the coronavirus sent Walker and all non-seniors home early from the academy, the Falcons fired Pilipovich on March 9.
“100 percent,” Walker said after a season-ending loss to No. 6 San Diego State when asked if he supported Pilipovich’s return.
Walker has started 49 career games in his two years for the Falcons. He averaged 8.5 ppg as a freshman.
Cadets are allowed to leave the academy without penalty through their first two years, with their commitment to graduate and serve five years on active duty officially kicking in when they attend their first class as a junior.
Air Force’s new coach could inherit a backcourt devoid of experience at point guard, as Walker was backed up this past season by senior LeSean Brown.
With Walker potentially departing, the Falcons could lose all five starters utilized in the final portion of the season. Forwards Chris Joyce and Keaton Van Soelen, used as reserves down the stretch, are the most experienced returnees. Abe Kinrade also made a pair of starts this past season.