By DOUG EADS
No one ever said playing college basketball is easy.
To the contrary, it’s usually a whole lot tougher than players may think going in to begin their collegiate careers.
For starters, everybody on a collegiate team — more times than not — was their high school’s superstar, and big-time scorer.
So in college, you have to ‘earn’ your minutes, and you’ve got to figure out and accept your role — whatever that role may be — to help your team win.
Campbellsville-Somerset University’s Hunter Stevens is living proof of all the above.
Stevens was a phenomenal player at Southwestern High School, and despite being small in stature, he was a prolific long-range shooter, as well as a big-time scorer.
However this season for CU-Somerset, despite averaging almost 10 points per game, it’s been a struggle at times for Stevens.
And, those struggles haven’t necessarily been his play on the court. Instead, the former Warrior standout has had his struggles during the season with injuries.
Stevens has missed 11 games so far this season of the Tigers 22, mainly due to a sprained ligament in his knee.
However on Tuesday night against Huntington Prep Academy’s Post Grad squad, Stevens proved why coach Al Gover wanted him to play for his club.
With the game knotted up at 90-90 at the end of regulation, Stevens — with six points through 40 minutes of play — scored CU-Somerset’s first 15 points of the overtime session, and scored 15 of the Tigers 17 points in the extra period, helping lead Gover and crew to a hard-fought, 107-100 victory.
“Sometimes you just have to fight your way through the hardships you may face,” stated Stevens.
“Helping my team win that game the other night was awesome,” continued the Tigers guard. “I really had no idea that I had scored 15 of our 17 points in overtime. That was huge, especially being out as long as I had been out with the knee injury. I’m very grateful to my teammates that they put me in the right position to score.”
Campbellsville-Somerset’s team is in its infancy this season, as the first-year program has taken its lumps along the way.
However, Stevens says he’s having a lot of fun in this his first year of college hoops. And, he says it’s OK that he doesn’t have the pressure on him to go out and score 25 to 30 points per game, like he did throughout his prep career at Southwestern High School.
“My role has obviously changed a ton this season, because I don’t have to go out and score 30 points every night,” Stevens remarked.
“Now, I’m more of a point guard and I look to score when I need to, but it’s a big-time help for me when I’m out there with four other guys that can score it as well at any time,” Stevens added.
The Tigers currently sit a 6-16 on the season, as they get ready to fly down to Miami this weekend to play a pair of games against top-ranked Florida National University.
And, with a healthy Hunter Stevens available coming down the end of the season, the Tigers are as dangerous as ever.
Head coach Al Gover has this team playing well of late, and Hunter Stevens has become another weapon that coach Gover has in his arsenal.
And, that was never more evident than on Tuesday night when overtime began.
Simply, Hunter Stevens was a man on a mission against Huntington Prep in those extra five minutes, and was not going to be denied.
Yes, the life of a college basketball player has its moments of greatness every now and then.
After all, Hunter Stevens is living proof.