For Storm Stanley the recruiting process for his basketball career had only just begun, and it is already over.
The 6-foot-11, 230-pound post player, who will be a junior at St. Francis de Sales, has verbally committed to West Virginia University and veteran coach Bob Huggins.
As a sophomore last season, Stanley started roughly half the team's games, averaging 5 points, 6 rebounds and 3.5 blocked shots.
But it was Stanley's size combined with the potential he displayed in AAU summer basketball that led to Huggins' interest, particularly his play at a recent tournament in Pittsburgh.
"I haven't been there yet but I heard it's beautiful there," Stanley said of the WVU campus in Morgantown. "I'm going there Sunday."Why did he commit on his first offer?
"It's a big, premier program and I think coach Huggins is a very good coach. When you get an offer from a program like that, you've got to take it."
St. Francis coach Nick Lowe is optimsitic about Stanley's future with the Knights and beyond.
"If Storm improves the next two years like he did from his freshman year to his sophomore year, then he can be successful at that [Big East Conference] level," Lowe said of Stanley, who just turned 16. "The recruiting process had just started for him, but 6-11 kids are not a dime a dozen. He's a very hard worker and he's a very good student, and those type of kids are not a real great risk."
Stanley said he had been contacted by several Mid-American Conference programs (including Bowling Green but not Toledo) as well as Xavier, Cincinnati, St. Bonaventure and Wright State. But the WVU scholarship offer was his very first.
"My dad met coach Huggins at a restaurant during a tournament," Stanley said. "He had already talked to the director of our program. I talked to him Tuesday and he made the offer, and I made the commitment.
"It feels good to get it out of the way early because now I can just go out and play and I won't have as much pressure on me trying to impress everyone."
- Steve Junga