TULSA — Tulsa Union guard Shawn Olden believed he was a Division I basketball player. Many of the people who saw him play believed it, too.
But it wasn’t until Thursday night that it finally came to be.
The 6-foot-3 Olden, a member of The Oklahoman’s Super 5, verbally committed to Pepperdine on Thursday night after an in-home visit from the coaching staff — quite a steal for the Waves.
Despite averaging 19.0 points per game and being the go-to guy for the Class 6A state champion Redskins, Olden flew under the recruiting radar virtually all season.
A week ago, he was prepared to go to a junior college.
“I had a lot of interest from Division II schools, especially after the season,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with going D-II. I went on some visits to D-II schools. The competition there is great. But I wanted to push myself to go for something higher.”
Olden was the MVP of the state tournament, and Union’s most consistent player from start to finish. Yet it was the Redskins’ big men that opposing coaches always seemed to be talking about.
They worried about how to contend with a pair of 6-foot-7 forwards, Jeff Mead and Carson Meier. And for all their worry, they rarely had an answer for Olden, who averaged 19.7 points at the state tournament.