STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton men’s basketball has added another multi-dimensional playmaker to its perimeter, as head coach Billy Gillispie announced the signing of Garrett Levesque to the Texan roster for the 2021-22 season.
Levesque, a 6’6 195-pound combo guard from El Paso, enjoyed three standout seasons at Coronado High School before playing his senior year at Vermont Academy, a small preparatory school in Saxtons River, Vermont. He also spent a year on the AAU circuit, competing for West Coast Elite Basketball in Los Angeles prior to journeying to the east coast and during the spring of 2021.
“I am very excited to sign with Tarleton State,” Levesque said. “From the moment I set foot on campus, I felt the energy and excitement from coach Gillispie, the Tarleton community, President Hurley, faculty, and staff. I saw firsthand the commitment to excellence in the capital improvements completed and planned on campus. I chose Tarleton State because all the support is here to compete for and win championships. It is an exciting time to be a Texan!”
Levesque was one of the top offensive players for Vermont Academy during the 2020-21 campaign. He averaged 13.3 points per game and flashed a consistent 3-point stroke, connecting at a 37 percent clip from downtown. Levesque also shot 77 percent from the foul line.
“We are so happy to have Garrett join the Tarleton State basketball program,” Gillispie said. “He is a unique player who has a ton of potential. He fits the kind of player that we like best; hungry, determined, team-oriented, skilled, multi-dimensional, and tough. He should have a tremendous career on and off the court here as we continue to build a quality Division I program here at Tarleton.”
He primarily played on the wing for head coach Alexander Popp at Vermont Academy but demonstrated the ability to slide down low, as he averaged 5.5 rebounds per game.
“I think you get toughness, athleticism, explosiveness, and verticality,” Popp said. “6’6, tough enough and smart enough to anticipate and descend against bigger players underneath the basket but quick enough to beat players laterally on the perimeter. I think he gives you a little bit of a queen on the chess board. He’s shown flashes in transition where he can really give your ballclub a lot of momentum because of his ability to finish. He was well-liked by his teammates because he leads by example. First guy in the gym, last guy out the door.”
Levesque is the latest addition to a laundry list of players who have competed for Vermont Academy and gone on to play NCAA Division I basketball. The program has produced professional talents such as Brookyln Nets guard Bruce Brown and Simisola Shittu, who plays for the Westchester Knicks of the NBA G-League.
He became one of the top guards in the El Paso region during his sophomore and junior years at Coronado. Levesque averaged 11.2 points per game on the strength of 50 percent shooting from the field as a junior. He also posted averages of 5.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.8 steals per contest and earned All-District honorable mention accolades at the conclusion of the season.
“The biggest impact he had that I really enjoyed about him is that he was a really coachable kid,” head coach David Ortega said. “That’s a joy. It makes our profession go a lot easier. He was very good in the classroom, but he was dedicated on the court and did whatever it took for our team to be successful. That was the biggest thing that I think his teammates noticed about him.
“He was not even tapping his potential,” Ortega continued. “Coach Gillispie is going to do an awesome job with him, because Garrett really responds well to that style of coaching.”
A trip to the Los Angeles International Airport then spawned an opportunity for Levesque to play for the largest AAU program in southern California. Levesque’s father is an LAPD officer and became acquainted with West Coast Elite head coach Scott Martin. A family friendship soon formed, and Martin recruited Levesque to the west coast in 2020. Martin also helped set Levesque up at Vermont Academy.
“Garrett has the size, he has the athleticism, he has the skillset,” Martin said. “He’s tough as hell, he’s an elite athlete, he can match up with Division I caliber athleticism. He can really hit it from outside, he can bang on the glass. He has that east coast toughness about him and he’s a high character kid. He was a really good performer for us. I think playing in his home state will be really good for him and with his athleticism, I think his best basketball is still ahead of him.”
Levesque played with and against some of the nation’s premier prep players at West Coast Elite. Including Levesque, Martin said the program produced 50 Division I basketball players over the course of the 2020-21 campaign. West Coast Elite also produced a pair of first round draft picks in the 2020 NBA Draft in Golden State Warriors guard Nico Mannion and current Dallas Maverick Josh Green.
Natural athleticism runs in Levesque’s family. His mom, Julie, was an All-American heptathlete at Cal Poly and currently serves as the Senior Women’s Administrator at UTEP. Levesque’s father, Damian, also excelled on the hardwood, as he scored more than 1,200 points at Cal Poly and later played professionally. His older brother, Grant, is a decathlete at Rice while his younger brother, Owen, currently plays soccer and football at Coronado.
Levesque is also a dedicated student, as he maintained a 3.3 grade point average at Coronado High School.
He chose Tarleton over offers from Army, California Baptist and UTEP.