LAKEWOOD — As a skinny 7-footer who is still growing into his body, Dallas Walton doesn't dominate on every trip down when the floor.
It doesn't take long, however, to realize why Colorado men's basketball coaches love the potential of the Arvada West High School senior.
Walton is still raw as a player, but his ability to block shots, score around the rim and pull down rebounds led to him receiving — and accepting — a scholarship offer to play for the Buffaloes next year.
"I know Colorado has a really good program — great guards, great players, great staff," Walton said Wednesday night after a 53-52 loss to Lakewood. "I know it's a place I can go to put me in a position to get better and succeed in life and in basketball."
Walton, whose father, Matthew, is a CU alum, grew up watching the Buffs and in recent years developed a good relationship with CU head coach Tad Boyle and assistant Rodney Billups.
Walton feared his chances of playing for CU — or anybody else — were gone after tearing his left ACL on April 17, 2014, and then re-tearing it on Jan. 20, 2015. The second tear came during one of his final tests to get cleared from the first injury.
"I did think about that sometimes," said Walton, who gave a verbal commitment to CU on Tuesday night. "I knew that there was a long road ahead of me after that second ACL tear. It was a dark time, but I knew that with the support of my coaches and my family and friends, they all believed I would get back to that point and better."
Walton wears a bulky brace on his left knee, but this season he's averaging 16.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.8 blocks for the Wildcats.
Brown, Denver, Middle Tennessee and Wyoming also offered him scholarships. Nebraska called, too, while TCU and SMU both canceled visits after Walton told them he was going to CU.
"It was a big-time offer and it was very easy to make that decision," he said.
Adding Walton, who will sign his letter of intent on April 13, filled a need for CU. With 6-foot-10 star forward Josh Scott graduating, the Buffs wanted a big man to finish off its 2016 recruiting class.
Walton said he's eager for the challenge of filling the shoes of Scott, who was also a top in-state recruit, from Lewis-Palmer.
"I'm prepared to put in the work and fill that role," he said. "That's the goal, to fill that role and then be the best I can for CU and make the program proud.
First step for Walton is to do what Scott had to do by adding weight. Walton is currently 215 pounds.
"I know that if I want to be that big to come in and do some damage, I'm trying to get to around 230-235," he said. "The coaches said they are going to work with me on it and get me in a program, and it'll be good by the time the season starts."
There are obvious strengths to Walton's game, but brute strength is not one of them. His goal is to add that in the coming years.
"I know there's some things I need to work on physically, but I know that in time I'll get those worked out," he said. "Just the physicality of (the game), I need to make sure I make stronger moves in the paint, work on my shot a little bit and be an all-around big man."
Walton has time to work on his game, and he is excited that he'll have a chance to do that in Boulder.
"They are giving me a shot and I appreciate that," he said. "They're taking a risk on me, so I'm going to give it my all to be the best for them."