New Signee

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New Signee

Postby jhill_1996 on Tue May 27, 2008 11:02 am

Matt Steelman has been around the game of basketball his “entire life,” which is a typical side effect of growing up as the son of a coach – his dad is Clemson women’s basketball assistant Todd Steelman.

On Thursday, the Daniel High School standout made a move to keep the game a part of his life for a little while longer, as he signed a letter-of-intent to join the basketball team at Wofford College.

Steelman said that playing major college basketball had long been a dream of his, after spending a good chunk of his childhood growing up in Chapel Hill, N.C. – in many ways the center of the college basketball universe.

“That’s always been my dream,” Steelman said. “Sometimes I haven’t put the work in that’s necessary, which is my fault, but luckily I got there.”

But once the Lions’ long-range bomber did get serious about his game, his hard work quickly paid off.

Steelman moved up to the varsity from the junior varsity midway through his sophomore year at Daniel, but Lions head coach Jeff Maness said it was during the following summer when Steelman really started coming into his own on the court.

“That summer between his sophomore and junior years, he had such a growth in his playing abilities – he really started shooting the ball and getting the ball off quick,” Maness said.

Maness said he thinks the hard work Steelman put in during the off-season was a big part of his rapid development – though having a father in the business didn’t hurt either.

“I think, obviously, maturity played a big part of it, and I know his dad had worked with him a lot,” Maness said. “The biggest difference I saw – I mean he could always shoot the ball – was his release… once he got that quick release, you couldn’t block his shot. He could get it off so much quicker, and I think that was one of the things him and his dad had worked on a lot. He really dedicated himself and put a lot of time in.”

And that certainly shows in the results, as Steelman now owns the school records at Daniel for 3-pointers made in a season and 3-pointers made in a career.

“You’re talking about two-and-a-half years, mainly two years (to accomplish those records) – that’s pretty good,” Maness said. “Teams really had to adapt to his shooting because, you know, we didn’t see a whole lot of zone (defenses) because of that.”

Steelman agreed that a big reason for his drastic improvement from one year to the next was simply getting serious about working at it.

“That was a lot of shooting I put in during the off-season and just a lot more confidence,” Steelman said. “I think I realized in the summer before my junior year that I was going to have to play a pretty big role on the team, and I knew I had the potential to play a big role on the team – and that gave me the confidence and the drive to step up there and hit my comfort zone.”

He also agreed that growing up in a basketball family had played a huge part in getting him to where he is today – signing on to play in college.

“I’m not the most physically gifted athlete, but I think the thing that helps me is I’m pretty smart, for the most part,” he said. “And that comes from him – that comes from him telling me when I get home when I had an attitude problem in a game, he can point to a specific time in the game and tell me when I let my teammates down a little bit or something. And that’s huge… it was huge to have a dad like that.”

And while Maness said Steelman was a huge part of the Lions run to a Western AAA region title this year, he was just as good off the court as on.

“He’s a good kid… good academics, you know, Matt’s GPA is through the roof and his SAT scores and all those things, too – he’s kind of the total package,” Maness said.

And while Steelman’s days on the basketball court at Daniel are done, he says he’s excited about what the future holds for him.

“It’s a very good program, and they have a lot of good things going on there – great coaching staff,” he said. “So, I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do over there.”

Postby dungeonjoe on Tue May 27, 2008 2:09 pm

please don't quote an entire article, just a couple of paragraphs liked to the source. Copyright issues are a problem
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Postby lawdog on Tue May 27, 2008 4:03 pm

Good news. Hopefully we can develop inside threats that will keep the defense from focusing on our outside shooters. Hope Whatley comes back.
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Postby Sparklepup on Wed May 28, 2008 12:13 pm

lawdog wrote:Good news. Hopefully we can develop inside threats that will keep the defense from focusing on our outside shooters. Hope Whatley comes back.

The newspaper article today said Whatley will continue his education at Georgia. I guess he has transferred. Anyone know for sure.


Postby woffordgrad94 on Sun Jun 08, 2008 1:41 am

Why would you want Whatley to com e back? He did nothing to help us win. He might have done well as a Division 2 player in the early 90s while I was at Wofford, but he was a non-factor against D-1 competition in the SoCon. I say good bye, good luck, and good riddance to him...hope he has fun at Georgia.
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