Kirk Walters' weekend visit to Arizona productive

Arizona brought in its final recruiting prospect from the 2003 class this weekend in 6'10" PF Kirk Walters from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Cat Tracks had a chance to catch up with Kirk after he returned from his two day, three-night stay in Tucson.

With the November signing period looming just a month away, Walters has narrowed his list of schools to three: Arizona, then both Central and Western Michigan.

The athletic forward with loads of potential has made it known that Arizona is a school that he would love to play for. However, what it comes down to is that neither he nor 7'0" forward Brian Butch (Appleton, Wisconsin) are ready to announce for at least another week.

Essentially, it looks like it will come down to whichever big man accepts his scholarship offer first. Butch has already chosen October 23rd as the day when he will choose the school where he will play in college. Walters, while less definitive, might be sooner than that.

"I feel like I'll be ready to choose pretty soon," Walters said. "I have to talk to my parents about it and then decide after that. It might be in a week or it might be in three weeks. Within the next month for sure, though."

All indications point towards Arizona for Walters if Butch hasn't snatched up the one remaining scholarship that the Wildcats have to offer the class of 2003. Walters liked Arizona before the trip and his visit did nothing to change his mind.

"It was awesome," he said of his trip to Tucson. "I had a great time. At Midnight Madness I was trying to take pictures of those freshmen in the dunk contest. They can really jump."

Kirk was accompanied by his father, Ward, on the trip but spent much of his visit by himself and with the players. Sophomore center Channing Frye is an engaging personality if there ever was one, served as Walters' host and – likely – personal entertainment.

"At first (Friday), Josh (Pastner) showed me around campus in a go-cart," Kirk said. "We ran into Jason (Gardner) but he was really the only guy I saw before about 7:00 that night before Midnight Madness. Then I went into the locker room and they introduced me to all of the players. They were all great guys. Some didn't talk much but Channing was my host so I talked to him a lot. I also really liked Ricky Anderson. He's pretty funny."

Kirk sat courtside, just behind the Arizona bench for the festivities along with his father, snapping photos as often as he could.

By the time everything had ended, it was approaching 5:00 a.m. Michigan time and Kirk returned to the hotel to get some sleep.

"I only got about five hours of sleep because we woke up at eleven and then went to practice," he said. "I shot around a little before practice and then watched everything after it started. The seniors were the leaders; that was pretty clear. I liked how everything they did came down to the minute of what the schedule said. The coaches have it completely under control and organized. That was impressive.

"Later on, around four or so, I went to Lute's house for a barbecue with the rest of the team. That probably lasted for an hour or and hour and a half and then I left with Channing in his car to his house and hung out for a while. We went to someone else's house later on and his mom was there so we ate another big meal. By then it was 9:30 your time and I went back to the hotel to get some sleep."

While Kirk spent time with Channing and the rest of the guys, his father went with the coaches over to associate head coach Jim Rosborough's house for dinner.

"He had a good time with the coaches," Kirk said.

Both Ward and Kirk got up early Sunday morning to make their flight back to Grand Rapids, stopping in Chicago before finally getting home. Kirk said that the trip helped answer some lingering questions that he and his family had about Arizona and about Tucson.

"I liked the campus," Kirk said. "It's relatively close together and it's pretty nice there, too. Meeting the guys and the assistant coaches was what I wanted to do and I got to do that. Mostly, I just felt really comfortable with the guys and that helped the most. I needed to see how I'd feel around them."

It now comes down to whether or not Kirk Walters will be ready to accept the scholarship before Brian Butch makes his decision on the 23rd. Butch is anything but a lock to choose Arizona, but the possibility remains that the skilled seven-footer could pick the Wildcats and leave Walters out in the cold if he waits too long.

As has always been policy under Lute Olson, the first to commit gets the scholarship. Will it be Butch or will it be Walters? Arizona wins either way.

Contact Ben Hansen at Bhansen6677@aol.com


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