Several San Jose State Spartans athletic programs have found prized recruits at Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West High School in recent years - the men’s basketball program is the latest after receiving a commitment from guard Walter Graves III.
Graves is known as “Little Bro” to San Jose State football standout and fellow Clovis West product Andre Chachere. Fellow Clovis West seniors Danae Marquez and Megan Anderson are committed to the Spartans after winning a state championship. Recent Clovis West grad Cassidy Clark has also started 51 games as a freshman for the Mountain West Champion SJSU softball team. Even closer to home for Graves is that his aunt lives just blocks away from campus.
Overall, SJSU and Graves were a natural fit.
“I had D-I offers, just the only offer I was really considering was San Jose State,” Graves said.
“It was the school atmosphere, the team, the way how they play, and I have family and everything down there. It’s a great area, I love being there and the coaches are absolutely amazing… Right after I got off the phone I started crying. It was a surreal moment just knowing that I was going to be a Spartan. It’s absolutely amazing.”
Among the other schools that showed interest included Oregon, Oregon State, Fresno State, Montana State and Portland.
The 6-foot-7 and 200-pound athlete played practically every position except point guard throughout his high school development. Graves improved his shooting and his ball handling skills to stretch to the shooting guard and small forward positions, but was also relied on for power forward and center duties at Clovis West due to his size.
The Spartans see Graves as a guard or wing, he said. Graves is expected to bring a defensive presence with the added ability to grab offensive rebounds.
“They want me to play shooting guard and small forward,” Graves explained. “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.”
In the past three seasons, San Jose State has improved from 2-28, to 9-22, to 14-16. With several key players returning, Graves hopes to be an immediate piece in the Spartans’ ascent.
“They have some great tools already,” Graves said. “I’m just looking to add on to what they have and not mess up anything going forward… I feel like I’m going to be a major factor in the next couple years and I feel like moving forward we’re going to do big things, no matter if it’s the tournament or in our conference.”
Graves will report to San Jose State and join the team in July. Business management and communications are among the majors he is considering.
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