Justin Steers (above) has a final five schools spread all over the country. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Tyler Sandora (@tyler_sandora)
The summer after his junior year at Tacony Charter School, Justin Steers announced his decision to transfer to Friends Central School and reclassify to the Class of 2018.
Steers spent that summer playing for the Philly Pride’s 16u team on the Elevate circuit. Before then, playing Division I basketball was never really an option for Steers. Once he began playing for Philly Pride, colleges began to take notice.
“Coaches started texting my coaches asking what grade is this kid in, we want to see him more,” Steers told CoBL over the phone. “After I reclassed, my phone started blowing up with texts and calls from a lot of coaches.”
Steers has trimmed his list of college choices to just five. Towson, UMass, New Mexico State, LSU, and Wyoming are the schools Steers will be focusing on in the final stages of his recruitment.
While UMass and Towson are only two schools to offer, Steers expects an offer from New Mexico State in the next few days.
A Philly native, David Anwar has recently been hired as an assistant coach at New Mexico State University. Anwar has connections with Steers through his AAU team, Philly Pride. Steers expects New Mexico State’s head coach Chris Jans to extend an offer once gets back from vacation next week.
Steers has been in touch with Anwar about visiting the campus, and plans to take an official visit in the end of August.
The only A-10 school to offer Steers, UMass has been in contact with Steers throughout the April and July Live Period, and Steers has built great relationships with the coaching staff.
“I’ve always had a dream of playing in the A10 because my cousin, Charlie Brown plays for St. Joe’s in the A10,” Steers said. “They love my game and want to build their program around me by the time I get there. So I just thought a school that wants me and wants me to play right away would be a great fit.”
While he hasn’t been up to UMass’s campus yet, his close friend Jack Clark, a rising senior at Cheltenham, has been to campus and has sent him pictures and videos and has filled him in with the atmosphere of the school. Steers plans on visiting UMass at the end of August or the beginning of September.
The only other school in Steers’ top five to offer, Towson was one of the first schools to do so, and has been in contact with Steers for a long time. A rising sophomore at Towson, Zane Martin has been talking to Steers about the Northern Maryland campus.
“Zane Martin goes there, I talk to him a lot he’s a Philly guy,” Steers said. “He says I’d fit great in their system. I haven’t seen any of the games, but he told me that It’d be a great fit for me.
The only high-major school in Steers’ top five, LSU has not yet offered. Steers was first reached out to by LSU assistant coach Greg Heiar after Under Armour’s first session in New York. While the Tigers are still in the process of recruiting Steers’ position, they asked Steers to keep them in mind when trimming his list.
“I haven’t talked to any high-majors before them, and he was the first one to look at me like a high-major prospect, so I like that he believes about me,” Steers said. “He loves my game. When I told him about my final cut, he said that they want to be in it.”
Rounding out Steers’ top five, the Wyoming Cowboys started recruiting Steers after watching him in Atlanta, where Steers didn’t think he played all that great, but the Wyoming staff thought differently.
“Personally, I didn't think I played to well in Atlanta, but they told me they saw the little things that I didn't see I was doing,” he said. They liked how I interacted with my teammates and they liked my game and saw potential in me.”
Wyoming monitored Steers’ play at Hoop Group a few weeks ago, and told Steers they plan to offer him shortly.
While Steers hasn’t narrowed down a definitive date for a commitment, he plans to make his decision sometime around November or December.