Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
Tyrell Sturdivant didn’t need to cut his list of scholarships from seven down to a final few. He just went straight to one.
The forward committed to Stony Brook on Monday night, after visiting the school on an unofficial visit that day.
“When I visited there, I just knew it was a big opportunity to win games and just be a great player,” Sturdivant told CoBL. “I just felt like there was no need to wait.”
Sturdivant will be playing his senior season at Chester (Pa.) High School after spending his first three seasons down at Glasgow (Del.). An athletic, 6-foot-7 power forward, he’s a tenacious rebounder on both ends of the floor with a nice jump shot out to 15 feet as well.
Head coach Steve Pikiell has taken Stony Brook from a four-win team in his first season back in 2005-06 to a program that has 20-plus wins in three of the last four years, winning the America East Conference regular-season title in each of those seasons.
They made the conference tournament final in just one of those years–2012, as well as in 2011 after finishing fifth in the conference–but have yet to break through and make the school’s first NCAA Tournament since joining the D-I ranks in 1999-2000.
“I know one thing that really attracted me is the wins, and how they’ve turned around the program,” he said. “(Pikiell) is a great coach, very funny, I think he’s a great guy. He wanted me to play for them, and told me how he’d be upset if I didn’t come play for them.
“He’s really excited, and that means a lot to me.”
Aside from the Seawolves, Sturdivant had offers from Albany, Fairfield, LIU-Brooklyn, Delaware, Florida Atlantic and Rider. His AAU coach, Terrell Myers, thinks the America East is a great fit for Sturdivant for a number of reasons.
“I think it’s a great conference for him,” Myers told CoBL. “There’s guys his size, so he’ll be able to bang with those guys, but he can also shoot the ball. He’ll be able to show people in that league that he’ll be able to do some other things.”
Sturdivant picked up a number of his offers late in the July recruiting period thanks to a strong month with WE R1, which he joined earlier in the summer. Myers and co-director Matt Pauls weren’t short on Division I talent–Sturdivant had at least three other future D-I players on his 17U team alone, including high-major forward Ben Bentil–but Sturdivant managed to carve out a niche rather quickly.
“He played hard, fit in with the guys, understood that our program was about winning and playing together, trying to build camaraderie,” Myers said. “He came right in and fit in and bought into what we were doing.”
When he arrives on campus in Stony Brook, N.Y.–on the north shore of Long Island–Sturdivant will join a frontcourt that includes current sophomore Jameel Warney, a Roselle Catholic (N.J.) grad. Warney, a 6-foot-8 forward, won America East Rookie of the Year honors and a spot on the all-conference second team after averaging 12.4 ppg and 7.2 rpg.
Though Sturdivant said he didn’t know Warney personally, he knows what he can do on the court.
“I’ve seen (Warner) play a lot,” he said. “I got a chance to meet him when I went down to visit. He’s very soft-spoken but I feel like he’s someone I can definitely learn from, just gain knowledge.”
With the decision out of the way, Sturdivant can now focus on his senior season in high school, where he’s already got to get adjusted to new teammates, a new coaching staff and a new style of play with the Clippers.
Getting his decision out of the way early obviously takes a big weight off his shoulders in that regard, though he’s already thinking about how he can contribute to Stony Brook in 2014-15.
“I definitely want to get stronger, so I can have a head up,” he said. “I think I’m a good fit right now, but if I can get stronger I can really make an impact.”