Robert Upshaw, a mountain of a 17-year-old, rose from his chair, towering over wide-eyed classmates early Monday afternoon in a packed Memorial High library.
He then snuggled into a purple and black baseball hat and answered their curiosity: "Kansas State."
That's the basketball college of choice for a 7-foot, 275-pounder ranked as the eighth-best center in the nation and No. 43 among all positions by ESPNU.
Upshaw said he knew it when he left Manhattan, Kan., following his official visit to the Big 12 Conference campus two weeks ago: "I really felt comfortable with the coaching situation and team chemistry, and I liked the environment and academic situation."
That trip followed, in order, recruiting visits to Louisville, Fresno State and Georgetown in the past five weeks for one of the most sought-after basketball players in Central Section history.
"I was shown some nice and glamorous things," he said. "But, at Kansas State, I saw everything -- classrooms and living situations. I liked how we spent a lot of times on academics and teaching me how I'll get through my day as a regular student. They gave me a good visual."
The Wildcats are 94-43 with four consecutive 20-win seasons under coach Frank Martin. Their history counts four Final Fours, 19 league titles and 50 players drafted into the NBA.
The body of work was too much for Fresno State to compete with.
Stanford snagged yet another frontline star out of the Bulldogs' backyard -- Central Valley Christian's All-State Grant Verhoeven -- a month ago.
But Upshaw said he did consider Fresno State because of first-year coach Rodney Terry, a former Texas assistant. It was there that Terry first began pursuing Upshaw, when he played at Edison as a freshman and sophomore.
"Fresno State, with Terry, went from not being on the map to making Rob's top four, and maybe his backup," Memorial coach Pat Geil said.
The national interest in Upshaw was a testament to the visibility of the offseason AAU circuit, where he established himself while traveling coast to coast with club team Dream Vision.
He hasn't played high school competition since 2010, having sat out last year at Memorial because of California Interscholastic Federation transfer rules. And Upshaw said watching from the sideline was difficult after former Edison coach Arturo Ormond -- who was present Monday -- began grooming him for major college.
"He pushed me to the max, driving me to become the player that could make it," Upshaw said. "But then I had doubts last year because I didn't play, was not in shape. I was just looking to live a regular life as a 7-footer. It was hard; I'm not going to say it wasn't."
CIF rules, however, did allow Upshaw to practice at Memorial last season. And he hardly missed any time -- games, either.
"I got through it," he said, "and Coach Geil pushed me through it."
Geil could only laugh about it Monday: "We actually had to move Rob off the second team in practice because he was shattering our big guys' confidence. They couldn't get off a shot against him."
Top seeds alive
Section volleyball playoffs today will stage semifinals in four divisions in addition to a D-V championship, with No. 2 Sierra Pacific going to No. 1 Kings Christian, the defending champion.
Top seeds playing at home in semifinals will be Clovis West in D-I, Madera in D-II, Independence in D-III and CVC in D-IV.
Water polo playoffs
Section water polo playoffs will include D-III championships involving top seeds Wednesday -- No. 2 Tulare at No. 1 Garces for the boys and No. 2 Tulare at Mt. Whitney for the girls.
The D-I boys title match will send No. 2 and defending champion Clovis West to No. 1 Buchanan on Saturday, but the starting time won't be determined until after D-I girls semifinals Wednesday, when No. 4 Buchanan goes to No. 1 Clovis and No. 3 Sanger visits No. 2 Clovis West.
Starting times for Saturday's boys and girls finals will be staggered, allowing fans to watch both, Buchanan athletic director Mike Vogt said.
Clovis East had three athletes sign national letters of intent Monday, including golfer Hannah Sodersten to Fresno State. The others were Maddie Kuber to Cal Poly in volleyball and Bryson DeChambeau to Southern Methodist in golf.