Basketball

Former Sacramento State star a step from ‘next level’ after being drafted first

Eric Stuteville, center, the first Sacramento State player to make an NBA summer league roster stands for the national anthem with Kings teammates Frank Mason III, left, and Jack Cooley before a game in Las Vegas. Stuteville was the top pick in Saturday’s NBA G League draft.
Eric Stuteville, center, the first Sacramento State player to make an NBA summer league roster stands for the national anthem with Kings teammates Frank Mason III, left, and Jack Cooley before a game in Las Vegas. Stuteville was the top pick in Saturday’s NBA G League draft. hamezcua@sacbee.com

A Sacramento State product heard his name called first Saturday.

Eric Stuteville, who played four years with the Hornets, including his last three seasons in a starting role, was the top overall pick in the NBA G League draft.

Selected by the Northern Arizona Suns, the 6-foot-11, 245-pound center out of Casa Roble High School recently spent some time with NBA talent in Las Vegas. As a member of the Kings, he was the first former Hornet to make an NBA summer league roster. He appeared in three games, averaging just 7.3 minutes.

“I’m not going to lie,” Stuteville told The Bee’s Ailene Voisin this summer. “I was pretty nervous at the minicamp. But after I stepped on the floor, I was OK. ... I definitely think I can play at the next level.”

Now that he’s reached the NBA’s development league, he’s just a step away from that next level. Northern Arizona’s first game is Nov. 4 at home against the Agua Caliente Clippers.

Stuteville, who is known to have a solid work ethic, set Sacramento State records for most games played (125) and points scored (1,013). As a senior, he averaged 11.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks while shooting 63.2 percent, a Hornets’ single-season record, and starting all 31 games.

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