Sports

Jesse Steele Sets Career-Highs

JesseSteeleComing off yet another suc­cessful game this past Sunday, senior basketball player Jesse Steele is continuing to stand-out on the court. Hitting two ca­reer highs within the past three games, Steele shows that all of his hard work is truly paying off.

The University’s star picked up his first basketball in the third grade. After trying plenty of other sports he realized what his true calling was. “My Dad just put me into a lot of rec sports like football, basketball, soccer,” explained Steele. “And I just re­ally liked bas­ketball.”

Thankfully, basketball was where Steele felt the most com­fortable. He has worked nonstop to become the player that he is today. After playing for one season at Army he realized that the ‘wake up at 5 am’ lifestyle was not what he wanted. Coming to Monmouth for the young athlete “felt like a great situation at the time.”

Steele, however, wasted no time making his mark on the team. Although he sat out the fall semester of his sophomore year because of his transfer, Steele came back playing the final 18 games stronger than ever. He fin­ished off the year ranked third in scoring and hit the second most three pointers on the team.

“I put in a lot of work dur­ing the off-season before I even came to Monmouth and it felt good that all of my hard work paid off,” described Steele. This type of training and dedication never slowed down either. It was only the beginning.

By the end of his junior year, Steele led the Hawks by starting in all 32 games of the season. Within the conference he ranked nineteenth in scoring, twelfth for steals, sixth in the league for free throw percentages, sixth for as­sists with 133 which is ninth in MU history, all while landing at eighth for minutes played per game.

After playing for the Hawks for a season and a half at this point, Steele never stopped proving himself since day one. “I worked in the offseason and all sum­mer,” portrayed Steele. “Coach Rice did a great job of getting the team together and playing together.” Whatever head coach King Rice did for Steele must have worked.

Steele came back out his se­nior year ready to play. Shoot­ing everyday and making sure he makes 500 shots everyday could be one reason why Steele is ranked second in scoring and leads the team with three point­ers.

On February 2, the Hawks faced Bryant University. Al­though they lost 77-62, Steele still shined brightly on the court. He finished the game with a career high of 27 points, along with five assists, four re­bounds, and four steals. “I was more aggressive the whole game. I just kept attacking them,” ex­plained Steele when asked about a change in his mindset for the game. To add to that milestone, Steele topped that by hitting yet another career high this past Sun­day against Fairleigh Dickinson with 28 points leading the team to an 80-76 victory.

The bas­ketball star, who is very precise about taking a 45-min­ute nap and making 200 shots before every game, has high hopes for a basketball career in his future. Steele hopes that af­ter graduation he will play for a team overseas.

Any team in particular? Of course: Steele hopes to play in Paris, France, in hopes that his mother, who loves the city, would come and visit him often.

If he follows the advice given to him by his mother many years ago, he will definitely be able to reach that goal. “Never give up,” is the simple phrase that has gotten the athlete to where he is now.

As for the Hawks team, Steele is hopeful for the rest of their season. “We’re not where we want to be as a team, but we still have games to change it around and hopefully we can just stick together and do that,” expresses Steele.

“Work all the time and always put in your best whenever your on the court,” stresses Steele to anyone stepping foot onto a bas­ketball court.

Following those wise words, the Hawks are scheduled to play Long Island University this Thursday at 7 pm and then St. Francis on Saturday in the MAC.

PHOTO COURTESY of MU Photography