Whenever Wichita South sophomore Ericka Mattingly watched the Wichita State women’s basketball team, she was especially drawn to the Shockers’ uptempo style.
“It’s their quickness, the way they play the game and how fast they are,” said Mattingly, a point guard at South. “I’m not saying that slowing down the ball is bad, but I like it fast-paced, and that’s what WSU is.”
Mattingly wants to run that offense and has made an oral commitment to play at Wichita State.
She will be the first City League player to sign with WSU out of high school since Taylor Steven signed with the Shockers in 2004. Steven now coaches at Bishop Carroll, her alma mater.
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“This will hopefully start the trend of something good, getting kids to stay at home and play in your own backyard,” South coach Antwain Scales said.
Wichita State coach Jody Adams, who can’t talk about a recruit until she has signed a letter of intent, has watched Mattingly for several years and has seen her develop.
“Jody talked about Ericka being scrappy and a hard worker,” Scales said. “For Wichita State, what’s important is Ericka’s toughness. She’s able to score the basketball, able to defend. She’s the type of kid that Jody wants to recruit in her program. I just think for Ericka, her best asset is her athleticism.”
Mattingly, who averaged 9 points last season, helped lead South to its second straight Class 6A title in March. She has strong court vision and is a good passer.
She also has quickness. Mattingly is a standout sprinter, although she isn’t running track this season after she strained a thigh muscle in the 2013 season.
Yet she uses her speed to her advantage by putting pressure on defenses to stop her from getting to the basket or breaking a full-court press with ease.
Once she’s in the offense, she looks first to involve her teammates, including one of her favorite targets inside, sophomore center Kendrian Elliott, who has an offer from Wichita State.
Other colleges recruited Mattingly, but WSU and Division II Pittsburg State were her only offers. While she likely would have picked up many more offers, she wanted to commit early.
“It’s just the feeling of being committed right now is a stress reliever,” she said. “Now I can keep working on my game. That’s the only thing I need to worry about doing — getting better from here on out.”
Mattingly also was drawn to Wichita State because of its recent success, including two consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament.
“Jody has created a very good program, and it will only get better,” Mattingly said. “That’s what she told me — ‘It will only get better with you coming here’ and all her other recruits, as well.”
Mattingly also gets to stay home, in the friendly confines of Koch Arena where she is 8-0 in her career, including 6-0 in the 6A tourney.
“Staying here is the best choice for me,” she said. “I would like to, at my games, look into the crowd and see most all of my family members there to come watch me play.”