Ask folks where Orangevale is and a number might guess somewhere in southern California, considering the citrus trees that populate, or use to populate the landscape down there. The answer is that Orangevale is 25 miles northeast of Sacramento. Now not that there is a groundswell as yet but the possibility of Orangevale being re-named Stuteville may be something on the horizon because Eric Stuteville is putting the town on the basketball map with his commitment to Sacramento State.
Averaging 17 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots during his junior season at Casa Roble High, Stuteville went out on the spring and summer circuit again as a Nor Cal Pharoah and averaged 20 points a game, with a couple of 30 point outbursts. That, his versatility and willingness to mix it up drew attention and Sacramento State took notice as did others.
Hornet Coach Brian Katz is entering the 2012-13 go-around facing the loss of senior big Konner Vetoto a year hence plus frontcourt juniors Ryan Okwudibonye, Joe Quigley and Jordan Salley the following season. Size was needed. Someone with four years of eligibility would really be a bonus
So why Katz and the Hornets?
"Sacramento State is the best place for me because of the way I felt about it," Stuteville said. "Coach Katz and his staff have seen me play a lot, coming to practices and open gyms. It's a pass first offense and playing with a guy sixth in the nation in assists [sophomore Dylan Garrity] will help."
Matt Fahey of the Pharoahs offered "Eric has so much upside. He's a late bloomer but he's hardnosed, tough mentally and likes to bang. It will be a great fit for him."
Stuteville now stands 6-foot-10 and is only 17. He's participated in organized basketball for just two years.
"My brother Mason first got into basketball," Stuteville explained. "That got me interested and I found out I really liked it."
What's fascinating is that neither brother was pushed or pressured into sports participation, even basketball, despite their size. Stuteville's father stands 6-foot-8 and played basketball at Langston University in Oklahoma and his mother, at 6-foot-2, holds some hoops records at California
Stuteville continued, "When I first started playing, I was more of a defensive guy, rebounding and blocking shots." Since then, he's added versatility. "I can shoot close to three-point range and post up. I'm a pretty good jumper with good timing."
It was especially in the late spring and summer where Stuteville measured both his advancement and prowess.
He offered, "When you play against guys in the summer tournaments,you have to be physical and stand your ground because everyone is good."
Academically, he sports a 3.65 overall grade point average, with a 4.0 this term. Stuteville is looking to major in kinesiology with the goal of becoming a physical therapist.
Eric's 6-foot-6 brother Mason is a promising 2014 prospect at Casa Roble.
So start getting those new town name signs ready.