The moment had finally come and Erik Stevenson’s stomach was beginning to turn over.
It was early Wednesday morning following a team workout at Timberline High in Lacey, Wash., and the 6-foot-4 shooting guard was about to sign his national letter of intent to play for Wichita State — the type of major college basketball program he’d always dreamed of playing for.
“It was kind of a weird moment looking down at the paper, I got butterflies,” Stevenson said. “It was like this is finally real. It was dreams becoming reality.”
Stevenson was one of four early signees for the Shockers, joining post players Isaiah Poor Bear Chandler, Morris Udeze, and Jaime Echenique.
Speaking to boosters at Wichita State’s tip-off luncheon at Koch Arena on Wednesday, Marshall reveled in how Wichita State had plucked a coveted West Coast recruit — territory Marshall and his staff have rarely recruited in the past.
“We see him like a Ron Baker-type player who can hopefully play right away,” Marshall said. “He’s a really, really good player who was offered by a slew of Pac-12 schools and just loved Wichita State. I think he’s really going to fit in well here.”
Stevenson said he has been glued to Twitter all day Wednesday checking on Wichita State’s latest commitments. He knew Chandler, Udeze, and Echenique were coming, and was excited to see Chance Moore, a 6-7 wing from Louisville, pick Wichita State on Wednesday afternoon.
Recruiting analysts have already called this class one of Gregg Marshall’s most talented recruiting classes in his career.
“I always thought I would make it, but I didn’t know it would be at one of the premier programs in the country,” Stevenson said. “It’s a great feeling, especially knowing we’ve got some other great guys coming in. I’m embracing it, but at the same time we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re seniors in high school and next year we’ll be freshmen in college and we’re going to be playing against some grown men.”
Stevenson said he’s already working on adding to his game entering his final season at Timberline. Last season Stevenson averaged close to 19 points and scored a school-record 45 points in a game, while being selected as honorable mention All-Class 3A.
He’s carved out a reputation as a go-to scorer with a deadly outside shot, but he has been striving to round out his game. He wants to show he can hit the pull-up jumper and finish at the rim with contact this season.
“I’ve always been known as the outside threat on my team, but last year I kind of picked it up going to the basket more and getting dunks and finishing through contact and making more plays,” Stevenson said. “What I’m going to be trying to bring to the AAC and Division I level is being a playmaker who can also shoot it and play hard defense. I’m pretty tough on the defensive end. I hate it when my man scores on me, so I take pride in my defense.”
Since announcing his commitment in June, Stevenson said he has been doing some recruiting of his own for the Shockers.
He’s followed their recruiting targets closely and has been putting in a good word with potential targets. With one remaining scholarship left in the Class of 2018, Stevenson said Wichita State fans will be pleased.
“I think tonight is going to be a good night for Shocker Nation,” Stevenson said.
Wichita State remains in the running for four-star point guard Alex Lomax, who announced on his Twitter account on Wednesday that he will reveal his college destination between Wednesday night.