20190310-spts-statebasketball-jb-038_Erik Oliver.JPG

Cheyenne East senior guard Erik Oliver earned his third first team All-Class 4A accolade from the Wyoming Coaches Association. Oliver averaged 19.7 points this season to help the Thunderbirds to a fourth place finish at the 4A state tournament. Jacob Byk/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

CHEYENNE – Erik Oliver had his choice of several schools, but familiarity and the chance to advance led him to stay home.

The Cheyenne East senior signed a letter of intent with the Laramie County Community College men’s basketball team Wednesday afternoon.

The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 19.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game and earned Gatorade player of the year honors this past season.

“LCCC was the first school to recruit me,” Oliver said. “They were the first ones to say, ‘Here’s a scholarship because we believe in you, and we believe we can get you where you want to be.’

“This is the best opportunity for me to reach my goal of playing at the Division I level.

“LCCC is a great place to play, and this is a great opportunity for players coming out of high school who want to be successful in the future.”

Oliver’s older brother, Elijah, was a two-year standout for the Golden Eagles, scoring more than 1,000 points in two seasons. Erik Oliver was comfortable with LCCC coach Jason Ficca and assistant DeWayne Saulsberry.

That familiarity also helped the Eagles, Ficca said.

“We’re very familiar with his family, and the character of him and his family,” said Ficca, who is entering his 13th season at LCCC. “That was a big plus for us. He is a big guard, and that was a liability for our team last year.

“We got taken advantage of by bigger guards who were able to drive against us. We were looking to get bigger in our backcourt, and (Oliver) fits that bill.”

For his career, Oliver averaged 17.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, two assists and 1.5 steals during four seasons at East.

The 3.3 assists he averaged as a senior were nearly double his previous career best.

“His skill set and body are college-ready,” Ficca said. “Signing him is a no-brainer for us. His effectiveness will depend on how well and how quickly he adjusts to the speed, size and quickness of this level.

“In his older brother’s case, it didn’t take very long. If he is anything like his brother, he will be a good player for us immediately.”

Oliver knows he has room to improve, and has already gone to work.

“I have to get better at ball-handling and finishing with both hands,” he said. “I’m pretty dominant with my left hand, so I have to get better with my right hand. I also have to improve as a 3-point shooter.

“I have to get bigger in my upper body and stronger overall. It’s just going to take getting into the gym. I believe in myself and believe I can get where I want to be.”

Oliver plans to study business and pursue a career as a sports agent.

Jeremiah Johnke is the WyoSports editor. He can be reached at jjohnke@wyosports.net or 307-633-3137.

Follow him on Twitter at @jjohnke.

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