By Rick Mauch
Eric Stubbs has learned a lot in a short time.
He learned he loves the game of basketball. And he’s learned that he needs to keep learning in order to continue playing the sport.
Not a problem, he says.
“I was a slacker in high school. I didn’t realize how important grades can be,” said the 6-foot-10-inch sophomore post from Kansas City, Mo.
Stubbs didn’t begin playing basketball competitively until his junior year of high school, after he grew four inches to 6-foot-7.
“I would play with my friends, but nothing major,” he said. “I’d rather go home and play video games.
“I made the team (in high school) but it wasn’t for me. Then, my junior year, I was on the JV and in the middle of the season I started scoring and made the varsity.”
What followed were all-district, all-conference, defensive player of the year honors and records for most blocked shots and rebounds in a single season as a senior.
“I saw it as an opportunity for college,” said Stubbs. “To be honest, if I wasn’t playing ball, I’d have a 9-to-5 job and might have quit high school.”
Instead, he set his sights on playing basketball in college. He was recruited by and decided to attend Southwestern Oklahoma State University, an NCAA Division II school. Then, grades - or lack thereof - got in the way, and he diverted himself to Weatherford College, where he said he instantly felt comfortable.
“It seemed like a good environment. I really liked it here,” he said. “The thing I like about WC is the teachers. Even though you play basketball, they don’t slack on you.
“It’s a great place, and I’m going to look for same feeling when I leave here and go somewhere else.”
He also likes playing defense, especially blocking shots.
“Since I was taller than everybody in high school, I got good at blocking shots,” he said. “It makes me feel like I’m the better player when I have a good block.
“The next time a player comes down court after I block them, they have to alter their shots. Last year when we played Southwest Christian, I blocked about six shots, and you could see in their faces they didn’t want to go into the lane anymore.”
After basketball, Stubbs wants to return to inner city Kansas City and help other youngsters understand the importance of learning.
“Hopefully, I can teach at an elementary school in my old neighborhood,” said Stubbs, who is majoring in early childhood education.
“Kids are dropping out of school. They need a role model. I also have several cousins I can help.
“Wherever God leads me, I’ll go. Life’s too short. You can’t think because you’re a person with a certain skill that you can go through life easy. You’ve got to work hard.”