Ever since Utah assistant coach Andy Hill walked into an open gym workout last summer, the Utes have had their eyes on Erik Stevenson. Over the past few months, the 6-foot-4 inch, 180 pound shooting guard has shown enough promise that he received a phone call from Utah’s, head coach, Larry Krystkowiak, who then extended him an offer to play for the Runnin’ Utes.
In his junior season at Timberline High School (Lacey, Washington), Stevenson averaged an impressive 19 points, seven rebounds, 3.5 assists, two steals and a block. His ability to impact the game in a variety of ways is the thing that is making college coaches all over the country turn their heads.
There are a lot of things that stand out on the court in Stevenson’s game. “The pros to my game are my IQ, for sure, rebounding on both ends, being a leader, shooting, I consider myself a knock down shooter,” he said. “Toughness is the biggest thing that everybody says. I don’t back down from anybody. Doesn’t matter if you're a five star or no star, Kentucky offer, Utah offer, it doesn’t matter, I’m going to go after you.”
Stevenson definitely backs up his words on the court with his passionate style of basketball. Stevenson says that once he is on the court there is a transformation that takes place. “In the game it is just a whole other me. My mindset is on a whole other level,” he explained. “I don’t back down from anybody. They call me a dog on the court, I’m a dog on defense. I’ll guard the toughest guy on the other team, I’ll go at him on offense. I’m just a dog.”
Stevenson uses his dog-like tenacity to improve his game through his daily workouts. He knows that no matter how much he’s accomplished, there is always room to improve. Stevenson said that he is focusing on, “Improving ball handling, I can dribble the ball and get to my spot, but you can always tighten that up.”
He is also working to have consistency on both ends of the floor. “I’m pretty consistent on defense, that’s all energy and effort,” he explained. “On offense, sometimes the shot’s not falling. Sometimes it will be two threes a game or sometimes six or seven. So I need to get that consistent at six or seven a game. I like to shoot it, if I’m open I will shoot it.”
Working at being a knock down shooter, Stevenson has the ability to get a quality look at the basket in many different ways. “Coming off screens is always nice because it gets you open. A dribble handoff actually works well too, because they like to go under it, so I just hit that. I’m pretty comfortable shooting off a dribble and catch and shoot,” he said. “Any shot that’s open, I’ll take it. I can shoot out to NBA range, even half a step further.”
At the moment Stevenson holds 10 scholarship offers. Recently, as more coaches are paying attention to him, he has decided to focus all of his attention to offers from “Power Programs," which means he's entertaining the offers from Utah, Wichita State, Washington State, and LSU. Stevenson said that Iowa State, Virginia and Clemson are getting close to offering while he is hearing more from Washington and California.
Stevenson still has not taken any official visits. “I haven’t narrowed down my schools to a visit list yet,” he said. “I want to focus on the high major teams, I just haven’t decided which ones yet.”
As far as making a decision he said, “I’ll probably make my decision around September, after I get my official visits out of the way and have a lot of time to think. It is a big decision. I don’t know when I will sign. April might be too long of a wait because other guys might sign. It just depends on the fit of the school and how they are feeling me out.”
Stevenson plans on being on campus at Utah on June 19th when he comes with his AAU coach, Washington Supreme, for Utah’s elite camp.
The conversations with Utah’s coaches have been positive ones. “They talk about education with me a lot because you can’t play if you don’t have grades. We talk about toughness and shooting. That’s basically the big two that they mention with me. Those are the two things that stand out when people watch me,” he said. “I know they are a tough program. Coach Hill said something about having the most wins other than UCLA or Arizona in the last five years.”
In making his decision, Stevenson will be looking for a school that offers him what he is looking for. Stevenson pointed out, “Big things for me are getting wins. Playing tough, hard and smart. Having great relationships with the coaching staff, players and fans.”