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The freshman guard averaged 10.3 points per game, shot 84% on free throws, made 46 3-pointers to earn an offer from NCAA D-I Morgan State University. York Dispatch

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During the second quarter of a state-playoff-qualifying contest in late February, Savon Sutton realized he had a special guest in attendance that night.

The York Suburban High School freshman point guard recognized a coach from NCAA Division I Morgan State University in the crowd. It's a school he had visited earlier that month.

Instead of increasing the pressure he was under to perform, with a spot in the PIAA postseason on the line, Sutton was surprisingly relaxed by the coach’s presence.

“It actually makes me calm down more because it tells me, just play like yourself, don’t do anything extra,” Sutton said.

The 6-foot, 3-inch, 170-pound guard did his thing on that night — 16 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter — and helped the Trojans to an 87-82 victory. Morgan State took notice and just more than a month later decided to offer Sutton a scholarship. 

Sutton was sitting at the table doing schoolwork with his father, Sam, a former York High standout and local basketball trainer. After he heard the offer through the phone, Savon looked at his father, mouth agape, and struggled to find the ability to say anything. 

“I saw it coming in the future, I just didn’t think it was coming this fast,” Savon said. “I was actually pretty speechless when I heard the words.” 

His first visit: Savon got a chance to visit the Baltimore university after he attended the high school basketball event held at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, featuring York County product Jarace Walker, who is a sophomore at the IMG Academy in Florida. The Bears compete in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and are coming off a 15-16 campaign.

The freshman guard said the Morgan State coaches saw him playing Amateur Athletic Union basketball for his team, the Pennsylvania Rens. Meeting the coaches and being part of team activities were some of the highlights of his first trip to meet with an NCAA D-I program. 

“I liked it a lot,” Savon said. “I got to go down for the pregame talk and witness the gym atmosphere for the second time. It was really cool to experience. It was something that you can’t take for granted. It was special.”

Gaining attention: NCAA Division I basketball offers are not commonplace in the York-Adams League, and even fewer freshmen find themselves with a D-I college offer after just one varsity season. Savon wasn’t surprised by the early offer and views the opportunity as something that helps get him more attention as he continues to mature as a player.

“When you look around many other areas, it’s normal to happen,” Savon said. “So, it’s just a little different around here, but it gives me an advantage. It gets my name (out there) early, as I still have time to grow and become a better point guard.” 

Along with the notoriety he's seeking from other NCAA D-I programs, Savon isn’t naive to the fact that opposing players will look to go after him on the court to prove that they can shut down or score on a player with D-I talent. He said he’s positive that he’ll get more attention on the court, but it won’t change how he approaches the game.

Building for future: One benefit for the young guard, as he builds his game, is that the Trojans return a ton of talent from a 21-8 team that reached the state playoffs this season. Joining Savon on next year’s squad will be starters Camden Brewer, Alon Gorham and Aidan Hughley. 

Savon’s goals for next season include winning Y-A League Division II, and he believes the team is talented enough to make a run at a district title and win a state playoff game. Savon averaged 10.3 points per game, made 84% of his free throws and hit 46 3-pointers this year.

Before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the sports world, Savon planned on playing AAU basketball with Team Melo, based out of Baltimore, in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League. 

As he waits for a chance to get back on the court, the successful freshman season, punctuated by his first NCAA D-I scholarship offer, provides motivation for Savon to make sure it’s just the first of many D-I schools to come calling.

“It gives me momentum to push more,” Savon said. “On top of the ending of the season, it just makes me want more now, not be satisfied with what I have and push for bigger things.”

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.

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