It’s been no secret to all that follow Team Trae Young and the 3SSB that JaKobe Walter’s moment was coming. In his collegiate debut, Ja’Kobe introduced himself to the rest of the world.
Baylor battled Auburn in the season opener in a tip-off classic between two NCAA Tournament participants from a year ago. Ja’Kobe got the start, played 34 of 40 minutes and dominated the Tigers. Wearing No. 4, he scored a game-high 28 points on 7-of-13 from the field, including 4-of-7 from three-point range and a perfect 10-of-10 at the free throw line in an 88-82 win for the 20th ranked Bears. The 28 points are a school record for a freshman in his first game and the most by a debuting Big 12 player since 2007.
“My teammates just encouraged me,” Ja’Kobe said. “It’s easy when you just play for the man above. It makes it simple. There’s nothing to worry about, there’s nothing to fear.”
Thanks to a hot start, Ja’Kobe had 13 first half points, more than one third of Baylor’s 34 total. He took it up another level and scored six straight points in less than a minute to open the second half. His output there helped Baylor claw back from a nine-point halftime deficit.
Throughout the game, Ja’Kobe displayed a three-level scoring game, picking his spots, when to shoot and when to drive to the basket, drawing contact on his way, a great sign in his first NCAA game against a high-level opponent.
“First of all, this kind of night is what he’s capable of,” Baylor Coach Scott Drew said. “His intangibles, the man he is, far exceeds anything he can do on the court. God has given him a great platform, and he does a tremendous job honoring it. I couldn’t be more proud of him. It’s a blessing to be able to coach him.”
Ja'Kobe Walter went off in his college debut 🐻
— ESPN (@espn) November 8, 2023
— Baylor Men’s Basketball (@BaylorMBB) November 8, 2023
Baylor Bears freshman wing Ja’Kobe Walter tonight #NBADraft
— 28 PTS
— 6 REB
— 7/13 FG
— 4/7 3P
— 10/10 FT pic.twitter.com/cpcTpWHBIC
— No Ceilings (@NoCeilingsNBA) November 8, 2023
Ja'Kobe Walter scored 28 points in tonight’s win over Auburn, the 4th-most points in a collegiate debut in Big 12 history.
Only Michael Beasley (32) at Kansas State, James Anderson (29) at Oklahoma State and J.R. Raymond (29) at Oklahoma recorded more points in their debut. pic.twitter.com/gGa025c9Yf
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 8, 2023
Baylor freshman Ja'Kobe Walter dropped 28 points in his debut for the Bears.
Most points by a Baylor freshman in their first game in school history 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Fi74Cc6CBf
— B/R Hoops (@brhoops) November 8, 2023
𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗗𝗲𝗯𝘂𝘁 : Ja’Kobe Walter
The Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year leads @BaylorMBB with 28 points & 6 rebounds on 7-13 FGs in the W vs Auburn.
A School Record for Points in a Freshman Debut. pic.twitter.com/v8UODeJtc0
— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) November 8, 2023