One of Colorado's top 5A basketball leading scorers, Colbey Ross, has decided to take his talents to Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. Ross made the announcement via Twitter Monday evening.
"To be honest I think I had a great opportunity at Pepperdine," Ross said. "I felt like, as a man, I would be able to grow and mature [there]."
Pepperdine has a Division I basketball program, and plays in the West Coast Conference against teams that include Gonzaga, Brigham Young University, and Santa Clara. Ross said the conference would be a great, but challenging one that would push him as a player.
"I feel like I'll be able to accomplish a lot of my goals at Pepperdine," he said.
Waves up 🌊 pic.twitter.com/DPw6ujLsYd— Colbey Ross (@cdot_ross) September 6, 2016
Aside from his offer from the Waves, Ross received bids from Northern Colorado, Stetson, Arkansas State and Texas State. Ross told 9NEWS that coming to this decision was tough, but he had lots of help from people he trusted, including family.
"My mom was the biggest help," he said. "She asked great questions to coaches that really helped me."
Ross also looked for guidance from the ones who know his game the best, including John Olander, the Eaglecrest High School basketball coach, as well as his current club coach. Olander encouraged Ross to make the decision based on where he thought he'd be most successful.
The point guard chose the Waves largely because of the impact he believes he will have on the team early. Pepperdine finished 18-14 last season.
"I think I can come in and contribute right away," said Ross. "I'm going to have to work for my spot, but I think I can really come in and help."
The 6-foot-1 senior will be playing point guard for the Waves when he graduates next spring, but before he does, Ross says he has some unfinished business with the Raptors.
"I'm just very excited to be playing my senior year with my brothers," he said.
Ross played in 28 games during the 2015-16 season, posting 521 points, and averaging 18.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. As a junior, the Raptors went to the state championship and fell just short to the Overland Trailblazers, 66-56.
In the state title game, Ross led both teams in scoring with 27 points. He also contributed seven rebounds and one block.
The Raptors are widely considered to be one of the top 5A programs in the state. After finishing last year 25-3 and the season before that 21-6, Ross knows there will be even higher expecations this time around.
"We'll have a target on our backs the whole year," he said. "A lot of pressure will be on us, and I think we'll handle it just fine."
Eaglecrest will once again be in contention for a possible state championship, and that could include another shot against rival Overland.
"I think if I work harder than anyone in the state and my team works just as hard, we have a great chance," Ross said about winning a state title.
While excited for the next chapter in his academic and athletic career, the new Pepperdine commit knows he still has a big goal for his senior season.
"I'm not even thinking about any other teams this year. We're going to go out and play every game as if we're the underdog and prove everyone wrong by just worrying about ourselves," Ross said.
Copyright 2016 KUSA