CHEYENNE – Erik Oliver has piled up individual accolades during his Cheyenne East basketball career.
The guard was a three-time all-state and all-conference selection. He broke Miami Heat forward James Johnson career scoring record at East. Oliver also was named Class 4A East Conference player of the year this winter.
On Friday, Oliver picked up an honor he called the sweetest of them all: Wyoming Gatorade player of the year.
“This is definitely at the top of the list,” Oliver said. “I can’t put into words how much this means to me. I have worked very hard to get to this point. It finally feels like that hard work has paid off.
“I can’t thank God enough for giving me the opportunity to play, and I can’t thank my coaches and teammates enough either.”
Oliver averaged 19.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game while helping the Thunderbirds go 22-5 and finish fourth in the 4A state tournament. His scoring average ranked fifth in 4A, while his rebounds and assists per game both checked in at sixth-best in the state.
He is only the third East boy to be named Gatorade player of the year. Bobby Traylor (1990) and David Ellis (2001) also earned the distinction.
“(Oliver) had really good numbers in every statistical category there is,” first-year T-Birds coach Rusty Horsley said. “He rebounded well for
us, he shot great percentages from the 3, from the 2, and from the free-throw line. And his assists numbers were up there too.”
“I know that he worked really hard on that, and it paid off for us. He is not a selfish kid, he did a little bit of everything for the team,” Horsley said.
For his career, Oliver averaged 17.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, two assists and 1.5 steals across 105 games. His 3.3 assists per game this season were nearly double his previous career high.
“In the offseason, I worked on things teams would do to try and limit me and keep me from scoring. I watched a lot of film, and I tried to get my teammates more involved.
“It paid off this year. I became a better all-around player, and I need to thank my coaches and teammates for helping me do that. These are things I need to keep working on to be successful at the next level.”
Oliver has several scholarship offers to continue his career in college. He expects to make a decision next month.