I put this in Boy's Basketball because that is how Stepp is best remembered:
The name Ervin Stepp is a legendary name in the annals of basketball history in Eastern Kentucky. As players that were the greatest of their generation, you’ll find Stepp sandwiched between the great “King” Kelly Coleman of Wayland and Clay County’s sharp-shooting Richie Farmer on a timeline.
Stepp, who played for the Phelps Hornets, took scoring to levels that will likely never be witnessed again. If you’re unaware of Ervin Stepp, take a glance at the KHSAA record books and prepare to be dazzled. Kelly Coleman’s 46.8 scoring average for the 1955-56 season ranks third in the KHSAA record books list for Most Points Scored-Per Game-Season. In the top two spots, you’ll find Ervin Stepp in 1978-79 with a 47.2 average and Stepp again in 1979-80 with an absurd 53.7 points per game average. Did you catch that? That is a 53.7 scoring average for an entire high school season – in an era before the three-point line was ever imagined. Those averages led to 2,724 points in only two seasons.
Stepp recalls several memories from his high school days that were rare in the Phelps area. He remembers sitting in a high school classroom and having the class interrupted by a reporting crew from CBS. He remembers winning the prestigious Hertz #1 award. Then, there is the Kentucky Mr. Basketball award in he earned in 1980. He is also quick to point out the intense, “knock-down, drag-out” battles in the Stepp-family backyard.
Ervin grew up with several family members that are basketball legends in their own right. His older brother Joe led the state in scoring in 1971 and 1972. Another brother, Jim, led the state in scoring in 1978. Then, Ervin came along and led the entire nation in scoring in 1979 and 1980. He describes his late father as “being way ahead of his time” in teaching basketball and his uncle Orville as “a great player during his time.” The Stepp name is synonymous with great basketball and is well known throughout Eastern Kentucky.
I sat down with Ervin Stepp last night and what I discovered is a man that is as passionate about the sport of basketball as any person I have ever met. Here is my discussion with the legendary Ervin Stepp.
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