Ellensburg’s Steele Venters Is A CWAC MVP Contender
2019 Ellensburg (Wash.) shooting guard Steele Venters is one of the most unique prospects in the entire Central Washington region.
Listed at 6-foot-7, that make hime the tallest player the CWAC has seen in many years. The difference however is that he’s not a lumbering big man. He’s in fact a true backcourt playmaker in every sense of the word.
This past Tuesday, Venters and his Ellensburg Bulldogs beat the Selah Vikings to captured their first CWAC Title in over a decade. It’s a moment he’s been dreaming of since he was a young kid.
“I’ve always wanted to be number one,” Venters said. “Living in Ellensburg my whole life, this is something I always wanted to do.”
The accolades are likely to keep pouring in for the senior superstar. While he’s a multiple time First Team All League performer, the illustrious MVP Trophy has always escaped his grasp.
That could very easily change this season. The MVP award in any sports league is traditionally award to the best player on the best team. You could say that Venters fits that bill.
Not that Venters is losing sleep over such a thing. In the big picture, there’s a lot more he’s hoping to accomplish this season.
“I want to at least make it to state,” Venters said. “What happens after that is up to us.”
There’s a lot Venters has to look forward to coming up. Besides the chance to play for a state title, he’ll also have the chance to pick what school he plays for at the next level.
He has an array of top college programs to select from. This includes St. Martins, Central Washington, Alaska Fairbanks, Hawaii-Hilo, and potentially Eastern Washington.
Venters said that the hardest part of his recruiting has been getting his name out there. It’s difficult to get mainstream recognition when you’re playing in a ‘small farm town.’
“We don’t get all that Seattle hype,” Venters said. “But Eastern Washington can ball.”
Fortunately for Venters, he plays for the off-season team Eastern Washington Elite. It’s a program that embraces the underdog motto, and plays top teams from all over the country.
When he plays in a city like Portland or Las Vegas, there’s no loss than 20 college coaches watching him closely.
Normally when you’re a 6-7 high school prospect, there’s a very good chance you’re going to play a power forward type position at the next level. This is not the case for Venters at all.
When he arrived at Ellensburg, he was only a slim 6-3 freshman. For head coach Anthony Graham, the decision was a no brainer to plug him in at guard.
“I never wanted to make that move [to power forward] full time,” Graham said. “To be fair we also have a lot of height on the team, so it made it a lot easier decision.”
Graham has tailor made this offense around Venters, allowing him the opportunity to use his post-up skills when needed.
He added that because he knew Venters wasn’t going to play power forward at the next level, he didn’t want to stunt his development by forcing him to play that.
Venters has gone from 6-3 to 6-7 over the course of his career, but the speed and skillset of a guard has been built into his DNA.
The trait that Venters believes he needs to improve on the most before he arrives on a college campus is his size and strength.
Listed at 175 pounds, that simply isn’t going to cut it at the next level.
Given the strength and physicality of players at the next level, it’d be ideal for Venters to get up to at least 200 to be at his best. It’s a tall task, but he easily has the frame to do it.
In the meantime however, his number one focus is getting Ellensburg that state ring.
With a supporting cast made up of stars like Davis Spencer, Davis Grant, Wyatt Franklin, Hunter Gibson, and Ryan Ferguson, this is a team built to dominate.
This team is worth monitoring as they continue to build on their CWAC Title.