Selah’s Elijah Pepper Talks His Commitment to UC Davis Basketball
In the tight knit Washington basketball community, certain players have become household names. Elijah Pepper is definitely one of those guys. The soon to be four year starter has wracked up many accolades over the years, including three first team all league awards, and was recently named the AP 2017-2018 all-state player of the year.
The combo guard announced his commitment to UC Davis this past Sunday. Pepper will bring a rare blend of size and athleticism to an already stacked UC Davis 2019 recruiting class.
Pepper's skill set includes the ability to hit dazzling three pointers while also playing shut down defense. But perhaps what Pepper is best known for is the intensity and passion that he plays with.
1460 ESPN Yakima was able to catch up with Elijah Pepper, and get his thoughts on his decision to play for UC Davis.
ESPN: When did you first hear from UC Davis?
Elijah Pepper: The first time I heard from UC Davis was two years ago at the start of AAU season. I've been keeping a good relationship with them since then.
What colleges were you considering besides UC Davis?
I had three other visits. The previous weekend I had visited Lehigh. I had planned on visiting Utah State and Bradley University, but I ended up canceling after committing to UC Davis. I also had offers from Hawaii, Montana and San Francisco.
What did you like about the UC Davis program?
The basketball program has great players and I think they're going to be good for a long time. Their league is solid and they have a good chance at winning the league each year, meaning they also have a good chance to make the tournament which I really love. I think their playing style kind of fits the way I play, they like to go up tempo. Also their facilities are really nice, it's state of the art stuff.
How much did AAU, showcases, etc. help you in your college recruiting?
I think it helped get my name out there so people kind of knew who I was, and then the coaches and colleges came with playing in the big tournaments. I feel that if I had just stayed in Seattle and played there, I probably wouldn't have gotten as many offers and looks from colleges.
What position do you expect to play in college?
I'm probably going to play more of a combo guard, so point guard and shooting guard. Right now (Selah teammate) Calvin Herting is going to take over some ball-handling just so I can come off some screens instead of always bring the ball up. That should help that transition.
What do you want to study in college?
I'm thinking about studying something in business or law, I'm not 100% sure yet though. Maybe something in the world of law & justice. My dad and uncle are both cops, so it kind of runs in the blood a little bit.
Now that you're committed, is there any worry you might take it easier your senior year?
That is definitely not the plan, we're going to keep the pedal to the metal and hopefully win a state championship this year. We should look good this year, obviously we lost Zack Donato and Keegan Morford which was a big help for the team. But we have a good core of guys and a few key players coming off the bench.
Is there any people you'd like to thank that helped you get to this point?
Definitely my parents. And anybody that coached me, Tim Garza and both of my AAU coaches. And Colton Monti, who's trained me since seventh grade, he's my mentor so he's been a great help as well.