By ZACH BRAZILLER
Ede Egharevba felt like a celebrity. Everywhere he went during his official visit to Wichita State this week — the school cafeteria, classes, when he walked around campus — students were in his ear about joining the Shockers.
“The support and fans were crazy,” the former Edison star said. “It’s a huge basketball community out there. They showed me love. I was at home out there.”
Egharevba, a 6-foot-6 wing who just finished his postgraduate year at Mack Academy (N.C.), made it official Saturday afternoon, verbally committing to Wichita State and Coach Gregg Marshall. He chose the Missouri Valley Conference program over Hofstra and Saint Peter’s. Towson, Appalachian State, Rice, SMU, Fordham and Quinnipiac were also involved.
Egharevba, who visited Fordham and Hofstra unofficially, had an official schedule with Towson, but canceled it after returning to Queens. He joins a program on the rise, led by point guard Toure’ Murry. Wichita State won the NIT in March, finished second in the always-hard-to-navigate Missouri Valley and returns the majority of its roster, though it does graduate a few wings Egharevba could replace.
“Next year I think we’re gonna be really good,” the 19-year-old Rosedale product said. “[Marshall] said I have a chance to come in and play. If I work hard, minutes are available. It was best for me to go to Wichita State.”
Egharevba enjoyed a solid three-year career at Edison after leaving St. Francis Prep following his freshman year. He was a second team All-Queens selection by the New York Post in 2010 and averaged 19 points and nine rebounds per game for the Inventors before helping Mack Academy go 38-9 this winter while tallying 18 points and 10 boards. One college coach familiar with Egharevba said he was Mack Academy’s best player.
“He did a little bit of everything: He shot the ball well, posted up, handled it,” the coach said. “He’s an ideal three-man if he puts it all together or he could be a big two. Or if you go small, he can play the 4 and take bigger guys to the basket.”
The coach added: “If he goes there with the same mentality he had going from Edison to Mack Academy, which is to say, ‘I’m going to make a name for myself,’ the sky is the limit for him.”
Egharevba is ready for the next phase of his life, to contribute to a winning program and play college basketball at the Division I level, a lifelong dream.
“Now I just have to worry about getting better,” he said. “It feels great to know I’m just one step away from my dream [of playing professionally]. If I work hard, I can get to where I need to go.”