High Point (NC) Wesleyan center Ian Steere's meteoric rise as a coveted prospect has caught him off guard. Just a year ago very few recruiting analysts and college coaches knew of Steere, but now he has offers from some of the top programs in the country.
"I'm surprised by it all right now," said Steere. "I never was really highly recruited, mainly because I started seriously focusing on basketball late and I've moved around from schools, but I do think I'm starting to blossom. I work on my craft and have fell in love with the game of basketball.
"I grew up right outside of Fayetteville and started out at Overhills High School. I think transferred up to Carlisle (VA) for a little bit before going to Wesleyan where I believe I fit right in. It's a great situation for me because we have a strong team which helps us improve in practice plus we play against good competition every game."
At 6-foot-9 and 250 pounds, Steere profiles as a center on the next level. He's playing post this spring on the Under Armour Association for Team Charlotte, and is averaging 9.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
"I've been playing well," said Steere. "I think it's definitely helped my recruitment and helped me improve as a player. We don't have anymore events until July and then we'll be playing in the Under Armour Finals, an even in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and the Fab 48 in Vegas."
Steere is an athletic post who can finish at the rim and contest shots in the paint. He rebounds his area and is developing a mid-range game. His play has already led to offers from Kansas, Clemson, Georgia, Arkansas, Missouri, Maryland, Texas Tech, Tennessee, Florida State, UConn, Pitt, and Creighton among others.
Because his recruitment is just getting started, Steere says he's never really visited college programs. In fact, this week he took his first true recruiting trip, an unofficial visit to NC State.
"It was a great experience," he said. "The coaches were friendly, and it felt like a family walking in. I wen there with my dad and we didn't know what to expect, but he liked it a lot too because they made us feel welcome there.
"Coach Keatts said he's been watching me for a while, even back when he was at Wilmington. He said he loves my game and wants to watch more of me in July before offering. He told me that he didn't want me to take it as a bad sign that he hasn't offered yet, but he wants me to get to know them and vice versa because it's a two-way street and he's trying to recruit certain types of guys to NC State."
What did Steere think of the feedback from Keatts?
"I respected it 100%," he added. "I understand that he is in a new situation at NC State and he's looking to bring in the right kind of guys that he wants . He's taking over a new program so he has to be familiar with the players and make sure they fit so I understood exactly what he was saying.
"Coach Keatts seemed like a great guy. I was surprised at how humble he was. He's a really cool guy who makes you feel welcomed. He made me feel really comfortable. That was a great experience."
Overall, Steere seemed impressed with what NC State had to offer.
"I didn't know what to expect but their facility... everything is in one building and I loved that," Steere said. "The weights, physical therapy, film, obviously the court... everything is in there. I could get in there anytime I wanted and work on my game. The way I see it, there's no excuse for not improving in that type of environment. I liked it a lot."
Next up for Steere will be mid-June trips to Creighton (June 15) and Louisville (June 19). He also plans on taking additional trips prior to making a decision and distance likely won't play a role in his choice.
"I'm different because some guys have had offers forever and are taking officials now," he said. "I'm just starting to take unofficial visits. I don't want to rush into a decision, but I do want the schools to know how interested I am in them.
"My parents want me to stay close to home, but they understand distance can't be a factor and I have to make the best decision for me. I'll be looking for a great situation academically, and I also want to find a school that can help me thrive and develop as a player."
Steere is currently rated a four-star recruit and the No. 17 center prospect in the country by Scout.com.