Steve McElvene, a 6-foot-11, 285-pound center, had scholarship offers from Pittsburgh and Kansas State, while Purdue and Xavier began courting him over the summer.
Recruiters from those schools have wanted to know how close he was to making a decision, and they weren’t the only ones pumping him for information.
“A lot of people have been on me about picking a school, but I wanted to go to a place where I fit right in, and Dayton obviously is that,” he said. “They feed the ball actually to the big men, and I think I’m going to be very good there.”
The Flyers certainly are counting on that after beating out some high-profile programs again for another quality recruit. The mammoth senior from New Haven, Ind. (near Fort Wayne) committed Thursday night — four days after 6-4 guard Darrell Davis of Detroit picked UD over Michigan State, Florida State and others.
McElvene returned to his home state of Indiana before his junior season after living for several years in Alabama. He didn’t create much of a stir but had a breakout performance in the regional tournament last March. He had a combined 39 points, 33 rebounds and 10 blocks in two games for New Haven High School.
McElvene, who also had scholarship offers from Wright State, La Salle and Saint Louis, developed on the AAU circuit while playing with powerhouse Spiece Indy Heat, which has two top-25 prospects in forward Trey Lyles and guard James Blackmon.
“He’s a bit raw, but he’s got pretty good hands and feet,” said John Stovall, a recruiting analyst for ESPN. “He’s huge. He went from being a mid-major-type recruit in the early spring to being a mid-major-plus or high-major recruit by the end of the summer. He really improved his stock.
“He was a bit of an unknown commodity coming out of his high school year. His size was always intriguing, so people would come out to see him. But he got more active and more productive.”
McElvene visited Ball State earlier this year but wasn’t interested in checking out Pitt or Kansas State.
“I’m a family man,” he said, “and they were too far from home. I told myself on the visit to Dayton, ‘This is the school I’m going to pick.’ “
The Flyers had a top-40 recruiting class for 2013 and are putting together another impressive crop. They have two more scholarships to give and hope to land a power forward.
“Anytime you can get a somewhat productive big, that’s a great ‘get’ for you,” Stovall said. “He’ll have a great career at Dayton.”