Long Road For Webster

Eric Webster hasn't been the picture of stability since he began his freshman year at Grant High in Sacramento. However, the talented 6-foot-3 combo guard seems to finally have figured things out heading into a post-grad year at Notre Dame Prep (Mass.) and it's showing on the court.

When Eric Webster arrived at the Tilton School in New Hampshire a year ago, he came on a football scholarship. However, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Sacramento, Calif., native's heart is on the hardwood – and his future is also on the basketball court.

Webster is well-traveled and that's part of the reason why he's somewhat of an unknown.

He began his high school career at Grant High (Calif.) before going to Rio Linda for his sophomore campaign. Then it was off to San Juan High.

San Juan meant he had to wake up at 4 a.m. and make a lengthy commute from his home, so it was back to Grant for his senior season.

At the end of the season, there wasn't much interest so Webster headed the prep school route and landed at Tilton – where he re-did his senior season and basically walked onto the basketball team.

``My year wasn't great," Webster said of last season at Tilton. "I didn't play that much and I had my ups and downs. It was a good experience and my coach made me a better player even though I didn't always agree with him."

Webster said he received some interest from some of the local New England colleges: Boston University, Northeastern and UNH.

But most of the legitimate interest came for his exploits on the football field as a quarterback. Most of Webster's notoriety coming to Tilton was that of a guy who did it all in his junior campaign at San Juan – when he threw and ran for more than 1,000 yards.

``Marshall offered me in football, but I definitely like basketball better," Webster said. ``I thought I had a better chance of playing basketball in college, so I held off and wanted to wait and see what happens in basketball."

Webster went for 30-plus points in July and hit the game-winning 3-pointer with Play Hard Play Smart against a talented Team Breakdown squad. He hit a handful of trifectas, got to the basket and finished – and also dished out six assists.

Then, he proved it was no fluke when he was an easy all-star selection at the New England Elite 75 Showcase last month.

``I love him," said Winchendon coach Mike Byrnes, who coached Webster at the event. "People told me he's not going to pass the ball, but he made people better and didn't complain at all when he didn't have the ball in his hands. He's a solid A-10 guard and would be great for an up-tempo program. He's tough, is coachable and is a competitor."

``I feel like I do a good job pulling up off the dribble and going to the hole," Webster said. "My shot has come a long way from where it was and it's getting a lot better."

Webster took an unofficial visit to Marist last week and was offered a scholarship. He has also been offered by Iona and will take a visit to George Washington and Iona in the next few weeks. UMass is another school that has expressed interest of late.

``I think I can compete at a high level," Webster said. ``My biggest program in the past has been committing to something. I'm a good kid, but I grew up in a bad, bad neighborhood and jumped around from place to place."

``Prep school turned my life around," he added. "It was tough at Tilton, but I have a little brother that looks up to me and I had to change. I never wanted to leave and come all the way here, but I had to – and now I love it on the east coast."

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