What is Legion Prep? It’s attracting top Dallas-Fort Worth girls basketball recruits

A nondescript building in Dallas lists an address for a school that many may not be familiar with: Legion Prep Academy.

The school was formed by Nishia and Donald Walker in 2015 but the 2023-2024 school year was the first the school had an athletic program — starting with girls basketball.

Taylor Johnston’s first squad was built with some key players from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, many of them some of the top players in the metroplex. With a roster that featured four college signees from the 2024 class, the Bulldogs went 25-4 last year and won the TCAL State Championship.

“It was a really good successful first year,” Johnston said. “I believe a lot of people are wanting to see who we are and what Legion Prep was all about.”

Now, for the encore, Johnston is loading up by adding four new players — both were all-state players this past season.

Joining the team is 6-foot-4 sophomore forward Hayden Hearst from Dallas Parish Episcopal, 6-foot junior forward Brooklyn Terry from Mansfield Timberview, 6-foot-1 sophomore Jacy Abii from Frisco Liberty and 6-foot-2 sophomore Kamora ‘KP’ Pruitt from DeSoto.

The latter two are all-staters this past season and Abii led Liberty to a second straight Class 5A title with a win over Mansfield Timberview last month in San Antonio. Both Pruitt and Abii are ranked in the top 20 in the country by ESPNW prep rankings in the Class of 2026.

The background

The Walkers started the idea of Legion Prep as far back as 2012 and made it a reality in 2015, starting in Fort Worth.

Nishia is the director of education and admission and Donald is the director of operations.

Both of them have athletic backgrounds in coaching, with NIshia coaching at the junior college, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and high school levels in Houston and Fort Worth. Donald had stints at the high school levels for Dallas ISD.

“We’ve been up since 2015 with the academic portion,” Donald Walker said. “We all chip in wherever we can and make this something possible by adding sports this year. We always wanted to. My wife and I were former varsity coaches ourselves and we always had passion and the vision of having a vision. We met Coach Taylor we knew he was someone who had the same vision and same passion.”

Nishia Walker said the school has been focused on the academic side for years and wanted to get everything in place and be rolling before adding athletics.

“We wanted to make sure not only develop them in basketball but they are getting a good academic experience as well,” Nishia Walker. “Make sure they are not only focused on basketball and want to develop them as far great citizens”

Nishia Walker said the school’s goal is to prepare students for the next level, whether it’s for basketball or a trade skills job.

She felt high schools were not preparing students for the real world — which led to the start of Legion Prep, which is for students in junior high through high school.

“We took pros and cons, being teachers and us being coaches and dealing with parents in athletic programs with UIL and we wanted to customize a school the best we could,” Nishia Walker said. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all education. We focus on what each student needs individually and not as a whole. We create an atmosphere to be successful and that doesn’t look the same for each kid.”

The vision

Legion Prep will have a bigger profile nationally in the 2024-25 season according to the Walkers and Johnston. There will be a national schedule for the Bulldogs — similar to last year when they played all but two games in the area.

The goal is to be a name known nationally like the IMG Academy, Montverde Academy, Link Prep Academy or Dynamic Prep in Irving, coached by Jermaine O’Neal.

“We want to be one of the best schools in the nation,” Johnston said.

However, the Walkers stressed the Prep in this name isn’t prep for basketball at the next level.

“We are an academic school first, our students take real classes and there is a rigorous curriculum that is accepted by the NCAA and in line with the NCAA requirements,” Donald Walker said. “We are not an AAU program. The academic style provides a different style. Parents have to be committed. Students have to be committed. It’s just not here to play baseball. You have to be committed wholeheartedly.”

Nishia Walker said there isn’t a prep school in the area and some of the top players in the state were leaving to go play at other states.

She said this would allow the girls to stay closer to home and still get that high-level basketball competition and academic challenges they seek.

“We want to continue to grow with the program and develop these ladies on and off the court and have a platform where they don’t have to leave the state, she said.

Donald Walker added, “We are a private school institution. Prep is just part of our name.”

The Foundation

Johnston did a lot of leg work to help build his first team and build relationships with players in the area. While his newest players are getting a lot of attention on social media for coming to the program, he is proud of what his first team accomplished.

Kennedy Evans was the TCAL Player of the Year and is headed to Oklahoma State to play next year. She joined Legion Prep after playing at Denton Braswell. Neenah George, who is headed to Northern Colorado, prepped at Sachse. Fresno State signee Rayna Williams played at The Colony and Larkin Turner, a Mary Hardin-Baylor signee, came from Princeton.

“It is huge to add some of the kids we did but like I said, the kids we had this past year were top 15 kids in the state,” Johnston said. “Bringing in a Jacy or a KP or a Brooklyn Terry is huge and it is a blessing for the program but we had some really talented kids this year as well.”

The plan for now is to have only one team but Johnston said if interest continues to grow to join, they could have two teams this year.

“We don’t really know how God will bless us and if we pull in more and have to create two teams, then it will be a blessing,” Johnston said.

Last year, the Bulldogs practiced at the Willie B. Johnson Recreation Center in Dallas. This year, they are looking to partner with another facility to play. The Walkers couldn’t comment on where that would be, but the long-term goal is to have their facility in the DFW area.

Donald Walker said the goal is to keep on growing the school population and this winter the school will debut a boys program as well.

The Walkers said a coach has been picked but they haven’t made an announcement yet on who that will be.

“The goal is to keep adding on more and more, adding more staff and more students,” Donald Walker said.