Mike Hopkins and the Washington Huskies secured a commitment from Wichita State guard Erik Stevenson, who is transferring after two seasons and returning home.
The Lacey native, who starred at Timberline High, was also considering Gonzaga, Oregon, San Diego State and Maryland.
The 6-foot-3, 198-pound sophomore appeared in all 68 games at Wichita State and made 32 starts. The Shockers were 24-8 with him as a starter and 21-15 when he came off the bench.
Stevenson is one of six scholarship players who have left Wichita State since the end of the season, and he would have to redshirt next season under current NCAA rules unless he receives a hardship waiver. There’s a chance he could play next season if the NCAA approves a change allowing first-time transfers to play immediately.
Last season, Stevenson excelled early and started the first 18 games while guiding the Shockers to a 15-3 record, which included a career-high 29-point performance against Ole Miss.
Stevenson came off the bench in three of the final 13 games for Wichita State, which finished 23-8.
He posted four games of 20 points or better and finished second on the team in scoring with 11.1 points per game while shooting 37.7 percent from the field and 30.4 percent on three-pointers.
Stevenson also averaged 11.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals in 24.7 minutes.
“Coach (Gregg Marshall) and I didn’t have a great relationship,” Stevenson told The Wichita Eagle. “Obviously we didn’t mesh. That’s probably the biggest reason why I’m leaving. I’ve got to find a better relationship and a better situation.”
Washington, which finished 15-17 last season, is adding an explosive scoring guard who set several scoring records at Timberline High.
Stevenson owns the school records for points in a game (45), season (717) and career (1,861). As a senior, he averaged 24.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.9 steals and 1.7 blocks.
In 2018, Stevenson set Class 3A state tournament records with 118 points (29.5 points per game), 13 three-pointers and 15 steals in four games while capturing MVP honors and leading Timberline to a fourth-place finish.
“In the first game we draw Seattle Prep and Erik struggled against them the year before,” Timberline coach Allen Thomas said. “I tell him, it’s not a great idea to shoot your way in a game like this at the state tournament. He missed his first couple of shots, but 42 points later he proved me wrong.
“And that was the second-best game I’ve ever seen him play.”
The year before, Stevenson poured in a school-record 46 points against rival North Thurston.
“We were down 12 points in the fourth quarter and he had 18 straight points to bring us back,” Thomas said. “His will to win was incredible.”
Stevenson, an all-state selection in 2018 by The Seattle Times, Associated Press and Tacoma News Tribune, was considered a three-star recruit who had offers from 11 schools.
“I remember, Hopkins liked Erik and said he used to recruit guys like him when he was at Syracuse,” Thomas said. “But Erik had already committed to Wichita State after his junior year.”
Stevenson exploded on the recruiting radar in 2017 while playing with the AAU basketball team Washington Supreme when he averaged 12.3 points and sank 39 three-pointers in 13 games.
“We were in Atlanta at the Under Armour finals and up against a team that had Scottie Lewis and Bryan Antoine,” said Carl Howell, who coached Stevenson two years with the Washington Supreme. “Scottie, who is at Florida, and Bryan who plays at Villanova, were really good, but Erik had stole the show and had 33 points in that game. He was virtually unstoppable.
“We lost in OT at the buzzer, but that’s when everybody realized how good he was.”
Washington will need firepower because its two leading scorers Isaiah Stewart and Jaden McDaniels are expected to declare for the NBA draft after one year with the Huskies, which ranked sixth in the Pac-12 while averaging 70.6 points last season.
If immediately eligible, Stevenson would compete for playing time with guards Nahziah Carter, Jamal Bey and RaeQuan Battle. Meanwhile, Quade Green, who missed the final 17 games due to academic suspension, is expected to return next season and handle the point guard duties with Marcus Tsohonis and Elijah Hardy.
“Erik fits their style of play and they could have really used his toughness and his approach to the game this season,” Howell said. “He will help make other guys better because he’s so competitive. He’s physically and mentally a tough a kid as you’ll see. Just plays 100 miles an hour all the time.
“He’s a good three-point shooter, but he can score off the dribble. He’s athletic enough to finish at the rim with dunks in traffic. But I think his biggest strength is his basketball IQ. He just knows how to play. He’s one of those guys that’s really good when he’s making shots, but even when not making shots he’s still a high-level guy because he does all the little things.”
Stevenson’s displayed his athleticism in a high-school all-star game in 2018 when he dunked over 7-foot-4 Riley Sorn, a UW sophomore walk-on center, in a video that went viral.