AURORA | Eric Garcia needed only two stops to make his college choice.
The Grandview star point guard started a busy schedule of college trips with a visit to Idaho State, but his next one — to Wofford College in Spartansburg, S.C. — turned out to be his last.
Garcia, a 5-foot-11 point guard who led the Wolves to a 16-9 record in the 2011-12 season, gave his verbal commitment to Wofford and coach Mike Young on Monday, cutting short a scheduled itinerary that had Tulane, Wyoming and Northern Colorado waiting. He didn’t need to see any more and thinks he’s found the perfect spot for his Division I career.
“I just fell in love with it and it was the best fit for me personally,” said Garcia, who averaged 18.1 points and 5.5 assists last season and made the Aurora Sentinel’s All-City first team. “I have a chance to come in and play right away and do whatever they ask me to,” he added. “The coaching staff is great and I just fell in love with the school.”
Wofford, which plays in the Southern Conference, went to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in 2010 and 2011 under Young and last season — with a lot of freshmen on the roster — went to the College Basketball Invitational in 2012, losing to eventual champion Pittsburgh.
In Garcia, the Terriers are getting a player who has often been overlooked because of his height, but has been the floor general for Grandview coach Gary Childress for the past two seasons. Garcia first got onto the floor as a freshman at the Denver Coliseum during the Wolves’ run to the Class 5A Great 8 in 2010. He’s been at the helm ever since and flourished and it opened the door to Wofford.
“It’s been my lifelong dream ever since started playing basketball, I just wanted to play at this level,” Garcia said. “North Carolina was my favorite team growing up, so I always though I would play there, but playing DI I can’t put into words. People have told me I’m too small, or a lot of other different things, but knowing I’m going to play at that level is really exciting.”
Garcia gives a lot of credit to Childress for believing in him and putting him on the radar of several schools. He’s also benefited greatly from playing club basketball for the Colorado Miners program run by Randy Perkins, the father of highly-coveted Regis Jesuit star Josh Perkins.
Garcia had his number retired by the Miners program, in which he’s played alongside talented players such as Perkins, Cherokee Trail’s Roderick Bernstine and his Grandview team, Brandon Cosby-Lee. The other three are also garnering a lot of attention from schools and Bernstine and Cosby-Lee could make decisions in the coming weeks.
Trainer Nick Graham also helped mold Garcia’s game into one where he’s capable of hitting a big shot in crunch time or running the offense efficiently.
Garcia is looking forward to the upcoming high school season with a lot of anticipation. Practice begins Nov. 9.
“We really have a good team coming back and now that this college process is over, I can focus on the team and winning state, which is our ultimate goal,” Garcia said. “I can be with my guys and get better every day.”
Aurora Central star Carlton Hurst is expected to make a decision on which Division I program he’ll head to later in the week.
Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555