Editor’s note: A version of this story appears in the March edition of Preston Hollow People.
The transition between high school and college can be daunting for the average student. So consider Steven Spieth’s situation.
The Jesuit graduate chose to go to an academically rigorous Ivy League school almost 1,800 miles away, and he was an athlete on top of that. Yet Spieth has found success during his freshman year at Brown University both on and off the basketball court, starting every game for a school that is having its best season since 2008.
“It was a tough adjustment, but after a couple of weeks, I started getting into the swing of things,” Spieth said. “All of the guys on the team have helped me out. The biggest part has been adjusting to the weather.”
The 6-foot-6 forward is fifth in scoring average for the Bears, and posted a career-best 20 points during a win over Dartmouth on Feb. 8. He has been named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week three times.
Brown (14-10, 6-4) will face rival Pennsylvania in a nationally televised game at 6:30 p.m. tonight on NBCSN.
The maturity and poise Spieth has shown this season doesn’t surprise Brown head coach Mike Martin.
“We recruited him to be an impact player, so we had high expectations. He’s probably exceeded those a little bit,” Martin said. “He’s a guy we rely on for a lot, both offensively and defensively. He’s really intelligent as a basketball player. He usually makes the right decisions.”
For Spieth, the chance to play with a promising group of freshmen on the Brown roster, and perhaps take the Bears to the NCAA tournament for the first time in almost 30 years, was part of what persuaded him to choose Brown over more established basketball schools such as Colorado State.
“Obviously academics was a big part of it, but basketball was a big part, too,” he said. “I was really excited about the coaching staff, and this freshman class was really intriguing — getting to spend four years with guys like that. For me, it was a pretty easy decision.”
Spieth said he doesn’t mind the constant questions from friends and classmates about his older brother, Jordan, who is a rising star on the PGA Tour. The two share frequent text messages about their athletic exploits.
Steven doesn’t get the Golf Channel in his dorm room at Brown, so when he sees Jordan is in contention during a tournament, he will frequently invite himself over to a teammate’s house to watch it on television — and has converted some fellow players into golf fans in the process.
Still, Steven is eager to make a name for himself in the athletic world outside of his sibling’s shadow.
“I’m proud of him and I know he’s proud of me. It’s awesome to get to see what he’s doing. He’s living the life,” Steven said. “I don’t think it’s a competition between the two of us, but I do want people to recognize the name Steven Spieth.”