Norwalk's Enoch has become national attraction
The secret is out, and Steve Enoch's phone is ringing off the hook as a result of it.
Norwalk High's 6-foot-9 forward could have been a major addition to two local college basketball teams -- Fairfield and Sacred Heart both made early offers -- but Enoch has grown into a national attraction.
And interest in Enoch is not the only thing growing, because the senior-to-be's height seems to be going up as well during his busy summer. UConn, Providence, Boston College, Oregon, VCU, Virginia and Arizona State are among the major schools that have jumped into the Enoch chase, which previously was comprised of mid-majors and one of UConn's American Athletic Conference foes, Memphis.
"He will definitely go high major," said one East Coast Division I coach. "He's not there yet, but he has the size, skill and potential to be a very good player at UConn (or another school).
"Maybe even a pro."
In less than a month, Enoch's value has skyrocketed so high, he would be considered a blue-chip stock on Wall Street. And it all took place after Enoch participated in the 2014 Pangos All-American Camp, which was held May 30-June 2 at Cabrillo High School in Long Beach, Calif.
"He was an unknown," said George Matthews, Enoch's AAU coach with Team Up. "He went in the No. 2 under-the-radar player. ¦ He's now known by everyone."
In Long Beach, the nation found out what Fairfield and SHU already knew -- Steve Enoch is a major talent. He scores from inside and out. He has soft hands, good footwork and can run the floor. Plus, he's willing to work hard to keep improving.
"Give credit to (Fairfield assistant) Martin Bahar and (head coach) Sydney Johnson," Norwalk basketball coach Tom Keyes said. "They saw him at one of their elite camps (last summer) and right away they loved him."
Sacred Heart's Anthony Latina was the first to offer a scholarship before things took a dramatic turn for the 16-year-old forward, who lives with his mom in Norwalk. Enoch's father also lives in the area and is active in his life.
"The past few weeks, he's kind of blown up on the national scene," Keyes added. "It's something we expected would happen."
The newfound popularity means Enoch, who did not wish to be interviewed for this story, has a busy summer schedule that includes camps along with playing for his AAU team.
"Honestly, Steve just wants to work on his game," Matthews said about Enoch's reluctance to speak with the media.
Enoch is expected also to play in some games at the Hartford Pro-Am, which is held in Waterbury and has included past and present UConn players in previous summers.
The madness started with visits to UConn, Providence, BC and University of Rhode Island over the last week before the dead period begins on Sunday, July 6.
Along with the recruiting trips came a stop at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, which was held in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend. Enoch did not play any games there due to a deep thigh bruise, but participated in drills and classroom work.
"He got (more) press because he didn't play," said Matthews, who assisted Andre Drummond, whom he's known for over 10 years, during his college search (UConn).
The extra attention helped interest spread fast on the major college scene for Enoch, who averaged 14.4 points, 11.4 rebounds and 3.4 blocks as a junior.
"He had a strong start at Pitt Jam Fest and leveraged a lot of recruiting momentum into an invite to Pangos All-American Camp, where he validated everything in front of national scouts," said Alex Kline, who runs The Recruit Scope on Rivals.com. "Once scouts hear that a recruit has gained several offers, he comes up on their radar regardless of where they're from and if their AAU team is sneaker-affiliated or not."
Enoch did not just become a top recruit overnight, though, by pure luck. Two years ago, he was starting on the junior varsity team at Norwalk but getting little playing time off the bench at the varsity level as well.
"He's been a starter for one year on varsity," Matthews said. "I've never seen someone grow as rapidly."
Enoch's focus changed when Matthews came into the picture and began working with him, with workouts starting as early as 5:30 a.m.
"His hard work is paying off," Matthews said.
Matthews has taken an active role in Enoch's development, but Keyes has also been a presence during the season, and the two have tried to work together. Enoch's parents are also part of the recruiting team, but Matthews has the largest role.
"George and I have a good relationship," Keyes said. "It definitely helps to have guys out there volunteer their time to work with these kids."
Being a talented basketball player in Connecticut, people automatically assume UConn is the place to be. The Huskies are a team high on Enoch's list, and he enjoyed his visit to Storrs on June 26 along with several other top recruits, including Ray Smith and junior Tyus Battle, while coach Kevin Ollie was also conducting one of his summer camps.
"He liked it a lot," Matthews said. "It was great. ¦ It was a great atmosphere and a bunch of recruits were there."
Despite the attraction to UConn, Matthews wanted Enoch to get a broader picture of the college landscape, which is why the two have made multiple visits to other schools. Coaches are not permitted to comment on players until the school receives a letter of intent.
"It has to be the right fit," Matthews said about Enoch's college choice, which could come as early as September.
The newfound fame might become overwhelming for some high school players, but both coaches say Enoch is taking it all in stride.
"He's real grounded," Keyes said. "A lot of kids his age get all the hype and attention. I've seen it go to their heads, but not with Stephen."
The only thing that has changed with Enoch these days is his basketball game, and that's a good thing.
"I call him Captain Cordial because he's just such a nice kid," Matthews added.