Erik Scheive defines the term late bloomer. Also the description hard worker. Standing 6-foot-8, there's going to be some attention coming to the junior center/forward due to his current double-double average.
Out of Marysville High, Scheive is playing away from the proverbially beaten path so many have not seen him perform of late. From his self-description as a 6-foot-3 freshman -- "I was not athletic, couldn't touch the rim when I jumped and I didn't think I was very good" -- to averaging 16.8 points, 10.9 rebounds and 3.6 blocks a game thus far this season are the reasons why he will be getting noticed.
His most prolific game to date in the 2013-14 season? 27 points and 15 rebounds on January 7 against Gridley High. Second is versus West Campus at the Lindhurst Tournament with his 19 points, 13 rebounds, 11 blocked shots and a dunk. 21 points, eight boards and a five blocked shots against Sutter High on January 10 is up there, too.
The arc of his prep hoops career has risen for one very specific reason. Asked his best basketball skill, he replied, "my hard work, the time and effort I've spent practicing."
But another irrefutable factor is the arrival of Marysville Head Coach Stan Easter. The Indians went 5-22 last season. This was a team that had no off-season conditioning program, let alone a skills development one. Easter quickly instituted those twin-pronged improvement elements and provided a spring/summer playing avenue plus a lot more with his Hoops Skills and Life Academy.
Scheive offered, "I appreciate the effort of the team as a whole. We have all worked hard during the summer and during this season. We have all dedicated ourselves to improvement and I fully understand the importance that everyone plays in making our team a success."
Easter is eager to talk about Scheive. "Erik is an extremely hardworking kid who shows remarkable improvement and he gets better everyday. He wants to stay in the gym and his best is ahead of him. Erik played junior varsity as a sophomore and now look at what he is doing. It's so great to see a kid who put in the work succeed."
Scheive is also more than likely still growing taller and Easter cautions that more weight is needed on the 200-pounder.
"This summer, Erik played and saw that he could compete. He is good enough to play at a four-year school."
Scheive's advancement plus the better play of others on the team, Marysville sports a 13-4 record with Golden Empire league play soon to begin.
What also facilitated Scheive's rise is leaving behind football. He played on the gridiron and then took to the court his freshman and sophomore years but it's been strictly basketball since then.
He counts his father -- "he pushes me to work hard" -- and Coach Easter as his biggest basketball influences.
Scheive is doing fine academically and "taking the hardest classes I can" in order to expedite his move to college. He sports a 3.8 grade point average.
His best basketball moment, at least to date, is when Marysville beat River Valley High 59-56 on January 4 to win the championship in the Lindhurst Blazer Holiday Classic tournament. Scheive pulled down the final offensive rebound and scored the final basket, sealing the win for Marysville's tournament championship.
From here on for the next year and a half, California State Routes 20 and 70 are going to be carrying more traffic than usual -- cars with guys sporting various college insignias on their shirts.