The last time Trish Walker – mother of four-star 2015 hoopster Cameron Walker – visited Berkeley on her own, she made a spread of home-cooked food for the California coaching staff, and this weekend, she brought a batch of home-made cookies as the family visited the Bears. But, there was no preferential treatment – she made some for the Stanford coaches, too, whom the Walkers visited on Sunday.
"She brought them both cookies," Cameron laughed.
Walker said it best, himself: "I'm going to have a really hard decision to make."
After a weekend in the Bay Area that saw visits to both Cal and Stanford, the 6-foot-7 small forward isn't anywhere near ready to make a decision, but whoever his final five schools are, it's hard to think that the Bears and Cardinal won't be among them.
"It's going to be a very difficult decision; both schools have a lot to offer," Walker said. "I don't know how I'm going to pick between the two. It's going to be a really tough choice."
Walker spent about five hours on Saturday on the Cal campus, and six on Sunday at Stanford, where he watched Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
"I talked to the whole staff, and all the coaches were there," Walker said of his Berkeley visit. "When I got there, I took a little tour of the campus, and then I met with some of their academic advisors, and one of the teachers that was there. Then, we went back to the office with coach Martin and his staff, and we had lunch after that, and I watched the team lift."
The biggest hurdle between Walker having to choose either one Bay Area school or the other?
"They both have very good academic backgrounds," Walker said of the two rivals. "I have a good relationship with both staffs. I met players on both teams, and they're all really respectful and nice. They're very similar."
Walker boasts a 3.8 unweighted GPA, but, weighted, it's around a 4.4, so academics – particularly the business schools – are going to play a big part in whatever decision Walker makes.
"The most enjoyable part was talking to one of the business advisors [at Cal]," Walker said. "I really liked him, because he's in the same position that I want to be in. What he does with his life is what I want to be, so it was good to talk with him. I know he runs a couple companies, and I want to be a CEO of a company when I get older, so he does what I want to do a little bit."
While Walker won't out-and-out say that it could wind up being a two-horse race between the Bay Area rivals, it certainly has that smell.
"I still like Arizona State, San Diego State, UCLA and Colorado, and I like Cal and Stanford, too, but it's going to be hard to choose," Walker said.
While Walker's relationship with the Cardinal is a bit more well-established than his relationship with the new staff in Berkeley, his trip up to Cal this weekend went a long way towards him really seeing how he could fit in with Cuonzo Martin, Yanni Hufnagel, Tracy Webster and Jon Harris.
"They showed me a video from Tennessee of players that they had who play similar to me," Walker said. "It helped me be more assured about the new staff. They answered a lot of questions for me."
Walker also got to see the new practice facility on campus, which the Bears did not have the last time he tripped up to Berkeley, about one year ago.
"That was really cool," Walker said. "They didn't have that last time."
On the other side of the Bay, there were elements of the Stanford visit that stuck out, as well.
"They have some really good facilities," Walker said. "They took me to where Google was founded, and things like that. There were a lot of really impressive things like that. They showed me where Phil Knight donated money to the school. It was really nice."
Walker doesn't have any specific timetable for his decision, offering that he'll commit "when I feel comfortable," but that will almost assuredly come after he takes his official visits.
"I'll take my visits to both of them and see which one sticks out better," Walker said.
Walker is already in the midst of whittling down his options, and will cut his top eight down to a top five after the July evaluation period, so, "probably some time in August."
It's a safe bet, he said, that the Bears and the Cardinal will make his top five.
Walker's Dueling Visits
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