Jarace Walker, an 8th grader at Southern Middle School is quickly becoming a recognized face in the YAIAA basketball world.
The area's most highly-regarded basketball prospect has decided to leave before ever playing a high school game.
Susquehannock's Jarace Walker — rated as one of the top eighth-grade players in the nation — plans to attend the prestigious IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, for the 2018-19 school year.
Walker, who is 6-foot-4 and still growing, dunks and shoots 3-pointers with ease while playing for the school's ninth-grade team (eighth graders are ineligible for varsity competition).
He has spent the past few years playing for elite AAU and Premier Youth Basketball League teams around Baltimore and Washington, D.C. He also considered transferring to one of several private schools in Maryland that feature prominent basketball programs.
He already is receiving recruiting letters from colleges such as Syracuse.
His sister, Jaden Walker, is a standout junior at Susquehannock who has accepted a basketball scholarship to St. Joseph's University.
"When we went to IMG, it was a totally different level of what we were looking at than in Maryland," said his father, Horace Walker. "The individual coaching, the nutrition part of it and the history of making people better in sports. That's what they do. They're a sports school."
Horace Walker said his second-oldest daughter, Sherelle, 21, plans to move to Florida to be near Jarace.
IMG is arguably the nation's premier multi-sport boarding school with a college prep curriculum — and a $75,000 per-year price tag, before financial aid. Their varsity basketball team was ranked as high as No. 3 nationally in 2016 and finished 11th in the country in last year's USA TODAY poll.
This year's team began the season with players committed to colleges such as Kansas, LSU and Arkansas.
They play 45 to 50 games per year, including the spring club season, as a traveling independent. Their 500-acre campus is 50 miles south of Tampa and boasts "Division I-grade facilities," from the weight rooms and training rooms to the academic center.
Horace Walker said Jarace convinced him and his wife to travel the 1,000 miles away from home for high school.
IMG possesses "the people in my life to help me get ready for college," Jarace said. "Just the opportunities I will have there, from the weight room to the nutrition ... So many other resources other schools don't have.
Another video of Walker (story continues below):
Jarace Walker, a 6-foot-2 seventh-grader on Southern Middle School's ninth-grade team, is ranked among the Top 10 players his age in the country. And he can dunk the ball in games.
"It's definitely going to be hard leaving my family, but to get where I want to be in life, I think it's the right decision ..."
Jarace will leave the Southern York County School District he grew up in since kindergarten. He would have played for a Susquehannock team that has not made a postseason run in more than a decade and hasn't won a district title since 1982.
His sister helped the Warriors to their first girls' basketball district title last year.
"It's not that we don't care for the community; we do care," Horace Walker said. "It's just that Jarace is a different kind of kid. What he has is at a higher level."
His dream is to play basketball on a national scale, "and we're going to let him spread his wings," his father said.