Senior basketball star Jesse Steele is adding his name to a growing list of athletes making it to the big leagues. Steele has recently signed a professional contract to play in his native Dominican Republic.
Leaving on May 1 for San Lazaro, he has come a long way since leaving Army to come play for the Hawks. Steele detailed how hard he worked in the offseason and all summer long, shooting and making 500 shots everyday. With that kind of hard work and dedication, it is no wonder why he has just signed a professional contract for a sport that he has had continued success in.
Throughout his time with the Hawks, Steele has left his mark on the University. The All-Star went from being a walk on sophomore to a senior captain on scholarship. Through all of his accomplishments, he has ranked 9th all-time in career three pointers, 10th in assists with 286, 14th in steals with 110, and has ranked amid the league leaders in minutes played throughout his two full seasons on the team. Along with ranking across the board, Steele has also netted 939 points and 286 assists within two and half seasons, and hit 157 out of 187 free throw attempts.
Within the past season, Steele took his training and his hard work to the next level. However, aside from his strong athletic abilities, Steele is also very modest in how he describes his work ethic. “My shot was struggling a lot in the beginning of the season and Coach Rice gave me some drills to stay close to the basket,” explained Steele. “It got my shot and my confidence up.” Not being afraid to ask for help has clearly worked in his favor.
Teammate and fellow senior Ed Waite described the pressure that Steele was under after his first season on the Hawks, “Well when he first started playing for Monmouth he was relaxed with no pressure.” Waite explained how the pressure increased for Steele. “He grew up really fast because of all the work he put in the summer of senior year playing in the summer league in Belmar,” explained Waite.
Always a team player, Steele values playing with each of his teammates and under Coach Rice. “I couldn’t ask for better teammates,” expressed Steele. “We’ve had some rough years but we all stuck together.” Playing so close and working so hard together on the court has led the Hawks basketball team to a strong bond off the court as well.
Regarding Steele, his teammates also look up to him while looking to him for help, “He can pass and shoot so you never know what he’s going to do because he’s moving so fast. I couldn’t ask for a better point guard than him to play with while being at Monmouth,” stated Waite.
During the season Steele hoped to sign for a team overseas. When asked where he would prefer to play, he simply replied Paris, France because that is his Mom’s favorite destination. Although Paris did not happen, his mother is “ecstatic” that he will be playing for the Dominican Republic. She’s from there too so she just can’t wait. She’s going to visit again in June,” Steele said. Being born there, Steele has a dual citizenship, making it a lot easier to get on the team.
The team that Steele is joining won the Championship last year, and he is hoping to help lead them to another Championship win this year as well. Within Steele’s career with the Hawks, he has continued to grow and push himself towards success. Heading to San Lazaro this week, Steele is preparing to start a whole new chapter of his life. “I’m anxious. I’m excited. I’m nervous. I just want to get down there and start playing with the team,” expressed Steele. With the support of his team and the Monmouth community, Jesse Steele has a huge support system behind him wishing him the best of luck as he brings his basketball legacy to his new team in the Dominican Republic.
PHOTO COURTESY of MU Photography