By Joseph Staszewski
Travis Atson saw all he needed to know about Tulsa in one practice.
The Greenpoint native and former Christ the King guard had heard about the Golden Hurricanes’ up-tempo style of play, but it quickly caught Atson’s attention when he saw it for the first time on his official visit.
“Practice was just great, watching how fast the guys get up the floor, how fast they shoot it with the shot clock,” the 6-foot-5 Atson said. “It was my type of game.”
Tulsa also proved to be his ideal college destination. He verbally committed to play there next season for coach Frank Haith. Atson chose the American Athletic Conference program over UC Santa Barbara and DePaul.
“That’s just the way I like to play,” Atson said. “I like to score and they like to score too. “
He wants to study to be an engineer and Tulsa has one of the top programs for it in the country. He views Haith as someone who instills confidence in his players, after talking with assistant coach Kim English, who played for the head man at Missouri. Tulsa will ask a lot of Atson right away, after losing nine seniors to graduation. Tulsa was 24-11 overall last season and reached the NIT.
“They want me to come in and score right away and be one of the leading guys,” Atson said.
Tulsa began recruiting Atson after he was named to the All-Peach Jam tournament third team in July, in which he averaged 15.3 points per game and 5.2 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field. He has consistently put up 20 points per contest at local tournaments such as the Tri-State Classic and Dyckman.
Atson believes his ball handling and jump shot have improved, but there is still work to be done before he plays his senior season at Notre Dame Prep (Mass.). He wants to be a better defender and get his jumper even more consistent. Aston can do all that without the pressure of the recruiting process, unlike other players.
“It’s just such a relief,” he said “I’m at open gyms and there are still kids talking to coaches after they play.”
Aston is at this point because he saw exactly what he needed to when he arrived at Tulsa.
“Going into the visit I wasn’t planning on committing,” Atson said. “I wanted to wait until after I visited DePaul, take my time with it, but I really liked it a lot.”