Did it frustrate you that Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried told the media that he pulled his scholarship offer, which made it look like something was going on?
"I was surprised that they would take back the offer. It seemed like they were nice people. But, I understand that Mississippi State and Alabama are kind of rival schools. So, while it wasn't expected, it wasn't completely unexpected, either. I'm alright. I'm not mad at them. If I saw (Gottfried) right now, I would speak to him."
How did Alabama and UAB inform you that they were withdrawing their offers?
"Coach (Chris) Giles, from UAB, called my house and thanked me for letting him come in and recruit me and, basically, said good luck. That was the end of it. I told him that at the end of the day we would shake hands."
Did Coach Pearson at Alabama do pretty much the same things?
"He didn't call, but I talked to him before I signed."
Was he disappointed?
"Yeah, he was disappointed slash upset. But I'm doing the best thing for me."
Do you think it will be interesting when you come into Coleman Coliseum next season?
"Yeah, it will be. But it can't do anything but make me a better person."
With Branden Vincent graduating and Lawrence Roberts declaring for the NBA, did you see an opportunity at Mississippi State that wasn't there at Alabama?
"Yeah, Alabama has a lot of talent on the bench as well as their starting five. It isn't that I, necessarily, couldn't play, but there would be more playing time at Mississippi State. There would be a better position for me at Mississippi State."
You are just the latest Alabama (high school) player that Mississippi State has come in and signed. A lot of Alabama fans feel upset about it because Mississippi State seems to come in and get a lot of players from Alabama.
"A lot of players in this class didn't sign with Alabama, D.J. White, Mike Williams. I was just the last player left that Alabama could have signed. I just had to do the best thing for me."
Talk a little about your official visit to Mississippi State.
"It was a fun visit. We got there early Friday afternoon. Gary Ervin was my host and kind of showed me around. I hung out with some of the players. It was fun hanging out with them. I played AAU ball with Dietric Slater. Him, me and Gary hung out together. We ate good every day. They put us in a nice hotel. It was Super Bulldog Weekend. They had a cookout and we ate barbecue. We went to Coach's (Stansbury) house and went fishing (Saturday afternoon). He lives by a lake. I hadn't fished in years. I caught a couple. It was a lot of fun."
Was the visit the turning point in your decision to sign with Mississippi State?
"I guess the best way to answer that is to say the reason I went on the visit was because it sounded like a good place to play. Coach (Stansbury) explained about Lawrence Roberts being in the draft and that Branden Vincent had graduated. At the time, I probably would have signed with Alabama had they not come into the picture, but Mississippi State seemed like a better opportunity for me to play. So, I chose them."
When did you make your final decision?
"I came home Saturday night, early Sunday morning (from my visit to MSU). I talked it over with my mom and called my dad. I decided Wednesday."
A.H. PARKER HS BASKETBALL COACH MAURICE FORD
What makes Walter so good?
"His versatility. He is able to step out, shoot the jumpshot, shoot the three, put it on the floor, block shots, drive to the basket. At 6-foot-9, he can do it all."
It almost sounds like he plays like a big guard.
"He is a big guard. That is what he is. You are looking at another Kevin Garnett. He can pass it, shoot it, dribble it. He can do everything Kevin Garnett can do."
What did the Mississippi State coaching staff say they liked about him?
"They said he could step right in and do the things that (Lawrence) Roberts did. After a year of getting in the weight room and bulking up and getting stronger, you are going to be looking at another Kevin Garnett."
How did you protect him from the past couple of days of controversy?
"We stayed around and played Playstation. I kept him in the office and we played Playstation all night. We just kept playing Playstation and kept his focus on that."
Have you ever had a coach pull a scholarship offer from any of your players before?
"No. But I keep telling people the bottom line is (Gottfried) didn't pull off until after he found out that (Walter) was going to Mississippi State. Then, he called everybody he knew and said we are pulling our scholarship."
How do you keep what he did from affecting you the next time you have a player that is being recruited by Alabama?
"Anybody that knows me knows what kind of person I am. I have friends in the business that will take my kids. We don't have to ask for handouts. I just ask for opportunities for my kids to graduate and be successful. My next kid will be Cordell Pope, a 6-foot-5 two-guard. He will be a junior next year. If (Alabama) wants to recruit him, that is fine. I will never tell a kid not to go somewhere. The kid will make his own choice."
A.H. PARKER HS PRINCIPAL JOSEPH MARTIN
What are your thoughts about Walter signing with Mississippi State?
"I am pleased to see him sign a scholarship, period. Having worked with Walt myself for four years as a coach and principal, I have gotten to see him develop, not only as an athlete, but also as a gentleman in society. He is a very good kid off the court. He is laid back but when he gets on the floor, he is a tough ballplayer.
"Having played (basketball) at Alcorn State University myself, I am pleased to see him sign with a Mississippi school because I know how seriously they take their basketball in that state. They have a lot of great ballplayers. I think the kid that signed with them earlier, Charles Rhodes, is a very good ballplayer. He and Walter played against each other in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star game. I think they may have formed a friendship during that game. That may have been part of the reason he decided to go there. Plus, Mississippi State has won the (SEC) West two or three years in a row. They have had a stellar program for many years."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher/owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the source for Mississippi State sports and TheInsiders.com sports network. You can contact him by email at email@example.com.