By the numbers: What’s going on with Erik Stevenson?


Marshall Sunner

Wichita State sophomore Erik Stevenson gets stripped by Cincinnati's Jarron Cumberland during the first half of the game against Cincinnati on Feb. 6 inside Charles Koch Arena.

Sophomore shooting guard Erik Stevenson came out as a team leader early this season, carrying the Shocker offense. At one point, 16 games into the season, the Washington native was averaging 14.1 points per game. But since then, he’s struggled — specifically in the last seven games.

As Stevenson goes, so do the Shockers. His recent struggles are mirrored in the rest of the team. WSU has broken the 60-point mark just twice in the last month, shooting a low 35.2% from the field and 26% from three-point range.

But it’s Stevenson individually who has seemed to struggle the worst out of anybody. His numbers have dropped in almost every statistical category over the last seven games.

“Boy, he’s got a lot of things he needs to do better,” Head Coach Gregg Marshall said. “They took the ball from him twice in Houston and then he fouled needlessly, so he didn’t get much of a chance in the first half. I’ve suggested to Erik to just relax a little bit. He needs to move better without the ball, get some catch-and-shoot open looks, and not try to do too much. He seems to just be forcing it now.

“Some of his shots are missing by not only inches, but by feet.”

In the last seven games, the sophomore is shooting 26% (13-50) from the field and 20.7% (6-29) from behind the arc. His scoring average over that span is a low 5.6 points per game, which ranks seventh on the team. Junior forward Trey Wade is even averaging more points (5.7) than Stevenson on 11 fewer shots.

It’s not just his shooting numbers that have dipped though. During this stretch, he’s averaging just 2.4 rebounds (2.1 decrease) and 1.7 assists (0.6 decrease) per game. On top of that, he’s also averaging nearly two turnovers per game.

Opposing teams are outsourcing the Shockers by 22 points with Stevenson on the floor in the last seven games – the sixth-worst plus-minus rating on the team during that span. Only two Shockers, Jaime Echenique (plus-15) and Asbjørn Midtgaard (plus-8) have a positive rating over the last seven games.

Marshall said he isn’t too worried about Stevenson’s struggles though — not yet at least. He knows his guard is talented enough to perform, and he’s shown it at times this year. Marshall says Stevenson is putting too much pressure on himself.

“He’s a really good shooter when he’s open. He’s a very good passer. He’s got good instincts and great vision, but he gambles a little bit on defense,” Marshall said. “He’s putting a lot of pressure on himself, and it’s just not happening for him. Part of it is the other team. They get credit because they do a great job of taking what he does well away and force him into situations he isn’t great in.

“I hope he can relax, and we’d love for him to play the way he was earlier.”

Stevenson and the Shockers will look to get back on track Thursday against Central Florida in Orlando. Tip is scheduled for 6 p.m.