Question, Inside the Spartans: Tell us about your background and recruitment process.
Answer, Walter Graves: I started playing travel ball when I was in sixth grade… Recruitment of colleges actually coming to talk to me and hitting me up and everything started my junior year. It was smaller schools - mid majors like Montana State, Portland State. Then I started to play a lot better, develop my skills and play harder. I got Oregon State on me, Oregon, Fresno State and San Jose State. I started to struggle a little bit more for the ending of my junior year and a lot of schools fell off. I was actually struggling with injuries. San Jose State stayed consistent they are really good school my families that’s there I have a bunch of friends that go there currently. It felt like it was the best place for me as a basketball, where to be in, and living
Q: When did SJSU offer?
A: They offered me Tuesday of I think (three) weeks ago. I had offers from other mid majors - none really that I would consider. Some schools are really wanted me because I was playing well after high school ball and travel wall. I had D1 offers just the only offer I was really considering was San Jose State.
Q: Did you visit the campus?
A: Before prom this past Saturday, Friday and Saturday I stayed the night. It was great. I loved the staff – they were really welcoming. The guys are like family already. I played with them Saturday morning and it was my best trip. I loved it. I’m proud to call it home the next four years.
Q: What were some of the highlights on the trip?
A: The Event Center – there’s so much history there. It was really genuine when they introduced me to the school president, the dean… I’d say it was great because they had my name on a shirt already. We planned (the visit) two weeks before and it was short notice, so they did have something there for me. When I saw the dorms and how the guys were living, I loved it.
Q: What was your impression of the coaches?
A: It was really family-oriented… They immediately welcomed me, all of them… It was always tight, close, and about family.
Q: What role do they have planned for you?
A: They want me to play the shooting guard / small forward. During the game I play a lot of going back and forth between the two and three. They want me to come in, compete, bring my aggressiveness and how hard I play. They say I have a high motor so that’s good that they think that.
Q: Is that what you have played in high school, or did you play out of position due to your height?
A: Freshman, sophomore years I played the four and the five. I didn’t really have the ball handling skills and couldn’t really shoot. At the end of my sophomore year I started developing and playing the three, four, five. Then in my junior year I played a lot of two, three and four... My senior year I did everything but play point guard.
Q: What do you feel are your strengths?
A: Aggressiveness, I feel that I can shoot a lot better, rebounding, I don’t like to lose – so competitiveness.
Q: SJSU took a big step forward this year – did that play a role in your recruitment?
I think it’s good that they took a big step forward. They’ve had like their best record in the last 20 years I believe. They are definitely making moves. We have a young group of guys and moving forward we can actually do something, possibly make it to the national tournament, NIT, do big things. Hopefully in the next year or couple years we can win our conference.
Q: Did you get to watch the Spartans when they were in town (Fresno)?
A: Yes, I did actually. I was just watching Fresno State… I never thought I’d be going there. They are fast. They move, they push the ball, they run and their cohesiveness is great.
Q: How do you think you’ll fit in with the returners?
A: I think it’s great. They have some great tools already. I’m just looking to add on to what they have and not mess up anything going forward – looking to be part of a great family situation, great team, great coaching staff and school.
Q: There are quite a few Clovis West athletes either attending or committed to SJSU. Do you know some of them?
A: I do. One of my best friends, he’s there. He calls me “Little Dude” – Andre Chachere, who plays on the football team. I know Cassidy Clark, she’s on the softball team. I know two girls on the basketball team currently that are going there, Megan Anderson and Danae Marquez.
Q: What’s the gameplan from now until you get to campus?
A: I got my workout plan, my meal plan and my academic plan. I’m just doing what they want me to do, working hard, working real hard in the classroom, getting bigger, getting smarter on the court and just keep working out.
Q: Do you have a major in mind?
A: Business management or undeclared… I might be able to do communications, that was another thing I was looking at.
Q: When do you get to SJSU?
A: I leave here July 5. I’m going to be on campus July 6. On July 5 I’m going to be at my aunt’s house. She’s going to make a meal and have a family thing before I go onto campus. She lives like three blocks away from San Jose State.
Q: In reflection, how does it feel to be set to play for SJSU?
Great. I love the school, it feels so much like home already and I’m glad to be a Spartan.