Thursday afternoon brought good news for the Washington men’s basketball team, as junior transfer Erik Stevenson’s waiver to become immediately eligible was approved by the NCAA, according to head coach Mike Hopkins.
“We’re very excited that Erik will be able to compete this year,” Hopkins said during the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Media Day.
Stevenson, a product of Lacey, Washington, played his high school ball at Timberline High School, where he broke the school’s career scoring mark, while averaging 29.5 points in the WIAA Class 3A Tournament, earning MVP honors.
The 6-foot-3 guard spent his first two years of eligibility at Wichita State. In his sophomore season, Stevenson was the team’s second-leading scorer, averaging just over 11 points and 4 rebounds per game, while starting in 21 of the Shocker’s 31 contests and leading the team in steals.
Hopkins isn’t the only one excited about Stevenson’s waiver. Senior forward Hameir Wright also expressed his excitement about competing with a player of the former Shocker’s caliber.
“He’s a great, hard worker and a very skilled basketball player,” Wright said. “And he’ll give it everything he’s got, and you just love being surrounded by guys like that.”
Stevenson, who shot 30.4% from beyond the arc as a sophomore, is also poised to bring some much needed three-point shooting to a Huskies’ roster that struggled immensely from long range last season.
“He can really shoot the ball,” Hopkins said. “He makes plays and he’s just a high-level competitor.”
Hopkins, who has previously stated that this year’s Huskies will aim to play quicker and pursue a more penetrate-and-dish style of basketball, expressed that Stevenson appears to be a great fit in this new scheme.
“Last year we struggled shooting the ball, at just 32%.” Hopkins said. “So [we] bring in a high-level shooter/scorer and a guy who really, really competes on both sides of the floor.”
Moreover, Hopkins also suggested that fellow transfer Cole Bajema, who is waiting to hear back from the NCAA regarding his eligibility after arriving on Montlake from Michigan, could find out sooner rather than later about playing this season.
“We’re still waiting on news from Cole Bajema’s waiver; we believe we’ll have good news coming from that soon.”
Reach reporter James Price at email@example.com. Twitter: @_jamesprice_
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