Even though he had been projected as a top-15 pick, including 11th overall by Baseball America, Stanek said the opportunity to play for the organization that drafted him was worth the wait.
Arkansas' three-year starting pitcher was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays with the 29th overall pick of the draft, making him the seventh Razorback to be taken in the first round of a MLB draft.
"It was a long day," Stanek said. "It seemed longer, too, because it was one of those things where you're just ready for it to be there since you wake up and I woke up at nine and I was just ready for it to start as soon as I woke up.
"They were a very long three hours. I had some phone calls in between, talked to some teams and it got kind of stressful, but it was a big sigh of relief when it was all over.
"It's really exciting. It's an exciting time for me and my family. The Rays are a good organization that develops pitching pretty well. So it seems like a good fit. They feel like I'm able to contribute pretty quickly and help their team win. They felt like I was an advanced college arm, so I should be able to move pretty quickly."
Of the Rays' selection to draft Stanek, MLB.com analyst John Hart said he was surprised he slid, but mentioned some concerns teams likely had with Stanek.
"I think a couple of things that might have scared some clubs off … He'd been a little inconsistent this year, at times his delivery can get out of whack a little bit," Hart said. "But with the success that the Rays have had in developing pitching, I think it's a good pick. They can put him into their development program. They don't have to rush this kid. Clean up his mechanics, because the arm strength is there."
Stanek said he did not agree with some of the criticism he received during the broadcast.
"They kept talking about an up and down season and it was kind of frustrating hearing that," he said. "I know I wasn't perfect all year, but it was more like I started out rough, rather than being super inconsistent throughout the whole year. I feel like I put up pretty good numbers, so it was kind of whatever."
In his junior season, and likely his last season at Arkansas, Stanek posted a 10-2 record and a 1.39 earned run average, including a 0.97 ERA in conference play. He also struck out 79 batters in 97 1/3 total innings of work.
Stanek recorded two of his best outings against LSU, who is ranked No. 1 in the coaches poll. In two starts against the Tigers, he recorded two wins by allowing just one run, which was unearned, in 14 2/3 innings and striking out nine batters.
Following Stanek's second win against the Tigers, a 4-1 win in the SEC Tournament, LSU coach Paul Mainieri had high praises for him.
"Stanek's about ready for the big leagues," Mainieri said. "I'm about tired of seeing him pitch against us. He needs to move on to another level.
"He's so advanced. You don't expect him to spend much time in the minor leagues. He'll be ready for the big leagues pretty quickly."
Stanek said he was confident in his ability to move through the minor league ranks quickly as well. He also said his confidence in himself was what made it hard to see other names, including 13 pitchers, go off the board as he waited patiently for his to be called.
"The competitor in me was like ‘man, I'm as good or better than some people,' but that's what the organizations chose and wanted and so I have to go out there and prove why I belong and why I felt like I should have been taken earlier," he said. "But it's up to me, now."
Stanek turned down $850,000 from the Seattle Mariners after being selected with 99th overall pick in the 2010 draft to go to college and play for the Razorbacks. Stanek said the decision to play for Arkansas is one he would not change, even if he could.
"This is the best decision I made, to come here and go to school and play here for three years," he said. "I've met so many good people in Fayetteville, played great baseball here, got to experience this, playing in the SEC and in front of this crowd. It has been a big thing for me to mature and get better as a ball player and a person.
"I made an investment in myself coming to school and playing here," Stanek said. "It feels good to see a good return on that investment."