For the second consecutive season, the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers landed their top line in-state target. Last year A.J. Slaughter picked the Toppers and this time around Steffphon Pettigrew selected WKU after considering St. Louis and Xavier. Georgia took a look as did Big Blue (neither offered) but the reigning Mr. Basketball is headed to Bowling Green.
“The last time they had a Mr. Basketball come in it was 25 years ago,” Pettigrew said. “It felt like the head coach wanted me and I was his No. 1 player. They just wanted me more. It wasn’t too far from my home and my family can see me.”
Pettigrew averaged 33.6 points as a senior to lead the state in scoring. The 6-foot-5 forward attended Elizabethtown (Ky.) High and was recruited by Horn and Cypheus Bunton, two former in-state high school standouts.
“I’m a versatile player. With a two guard on me I can take it outside and if there’s a smaller guy I can use some post moves.”
Pettigrew’s decision was made with great information and he took his time gathering bits and pieces about each program. He wanted to make sure the head coaches were stable, especially after one of his contenders fired its coach.
“One reason why I waited was because you saw a lot of coaching changes. With my senior year, I wanted to wait and see what was the best school for me. If I would have committed to St. Louis the head coach wouldn’t be there. He got fired the day he left my house.”
Pettigrew is used to drawing big crowds and the lure of playing in a strong venue aided his decision. “You’re going to get a lot of support. There’s a lot of fans from down (Elizabethtown) that go to games and support the program.”