Granger, Indiana shooting guard Leo Svete announced his commitment to the Western Michigan Broncos yesterday via his Twitter account:
"@leosvete Committed to Western Michigan to be a Bronco Baby !!!!"
Moments later, the congratulatory phone calls, texts, and tweets flooded in from family, friends, and reporters.
"It's a great feeling," Svete told BroncoBlitz.com. "The Western fans have been crazy since I committed! I didn't realize me going there would have that much of an impact on the University. I feel like I'm already a Bronco."
The newest addition to the Bronco family already has lofty goals for himself and the team when he comes to Kalamazoo.
"I want to help bring WMU back to the [NCAA] Tournament. I want to be MAC Freshman of the Year. I told Coach Kool I'm comin' for his records!" Svete laughed.
Until the 2011-2012 season, the Broncos had never finished lower than 2nd in the MAC West division under Coach Hawkins. In the last nine years, the Broncos have either won or shared five MAC West division championships including three postseason appearances (2003-2004, 2004-2005, and 2010-2011). The Broncos finished a disappointing 3rd place last year in the MAC West, however made a strong push in the MAC Tournament, eventually losing 76-72 to Kent State in the quarterfinals. They'll look to regain some steam with the Leo Svete commitment, along with a strong incoming freshman class this year.
"I want to be an impact player and help turn the program back around. I think I can do that. I'm going to do everything that I can to make my teammates better," said Svete. "I'm going to take all of the feedback that the coaches give me and use that to help make everyone around me better."
Svete will undoubtedly be one of the biggest shooting guards in the Mid-American Conference, which bodes well for the Broncos which will be without 6-foot-4 guard Brandon Pokley and 6-foot-7 wing-man Nate Hutcheson by the time Leo steps foot on campus. Svete will come to Western Michigan with a chance to compete immediately for a starting spot at shooting guard or small forward.
"With Western, I felt like I wasn't just another name on a list. They told me I was their number one recruit. Why go somewhere else, be another name on some list, and sit on the bench? It just made sense for me to commit to the people who wanted me the most and who have my best interests in mind."
"My relationship with all of the coaches are great. I love this coaching staff," Svete said with excitement.
"I called Coach Hawkins. He knew it was me, but he played it cool and said, 'This' Hawk.'"
"I told him 'I got some news for you Coach. I want to be a Bronco at Western Michigan University!'"
"[Coach Hawkins] was calm but also really excited. He told me I just made his whole weekend."
Svete is widely considered one of the top 2013 recruiting prospects out of the state of Indiana. During his junior year, he averaged close to 20 points per game and 6 rebounds per game. As a result, he was named First Team All-Conference and Honorable Mention All-State. His goals for his senior season are to win a state championship and be an Indiana All-Star. In Indiana, the top twelve players in the state, regardless of division, are named to the Indiana State All-Star Team. Leo also plays for the Eric Gordon All-Stars, which was recently ranked by Five-Star Basketball as the #2 AAU team in the country.
Leo Svete is the first verbal commitment for the Broncos' 2013 recruiting class. With only one remaining scholarship to hand out, the Broncos will now likely make a push to fill another position of need; point guard. And one of their top targets is Carmel, Indiana point guard Jordan Pickett.
BroncoBlitz.com caught up with Jordan Pickett earlier in the week before Leo Svete committed to the Broncos saying, "Western Michigan University is most definitely in the mix."
Pickett took an unofficial visit to Western Michigan a few weeks back and had a chance to check out campus and the athletic facility during an open-gym session at University Arena.
"The players were so welcoming to me and my father," said Pickett. "It had a family-feel there even though it was my first time going up there. I liked the campus and how each class seemed to be within walking distance. The size of the campus was great."
Since Leo Svete's commitment, the two WMU recruits (Pickett and Svete) have spoken to one another.
"After I committed, I called Jordan and we were yelling we were so happy," Svete said.
"Leo committing there seems like the best fit for him," Pickett said of his long-time high school competitor and friend.
"[Leo]'s one of my best friends and he was talking about their system a lot. I figured it was only a matter of time before he committed there. I think it's a great fit for him and I'm really happy for him!"
When asked if this impacted Pickett's plans at all, the 6-foot-0 point guard said, "Tremendously."
Pickett continued to say, "I feel that with us playing together, it would benefit not just us, but the whole team if I were to commit to WMU. And that's close to a deal you can't turn down. It's a very tempting situation."
Despite the Svete news, Jordan Pickett still stands firm on taking his visits and holding off on a commitment until late-July.
"He wants to take some more visits and I think he'd like to get to know some of the other WMU players first," Svete explained.
Jordan Pickett currently holds offers from Loyola and Western Michigan. According to Pickett, the schools that have been showing him the most interest as of late are "Virginia Tech, Missouri, Southern Illinois, Winthrop, Ohio, Washington State, Oregon State, St. Bonaventure, and Evansville."