Wednesday, March 09, 2005
By Kyle Murphy, UA Media Relations
When you’ve won two straight “Mr. Basketball” titles from the state of Alabama and helped lead your team to two straight state championships, including one undefeated season, expectations can be rather high when you step into the collegiate level. Add that to the fact that you are replacing Antoine Pettway, one of the most prolific point guards in Alabama basketball history, and you’ve got expectations that not many true freshman are able to deal with. An exception to that is the Crimson Tide’s freshman point guard Ronald Steele, who already is making his mark on Alabama basketball. In just his sixth ever collegiate game, he set the University of Alabama’s school record with 18 assists in a game against ETSU. The SEC RECORD is 19 assists. That means as a freshman, he has the 2nd best single game assists total EVER in the SEC.
The Birmingham native was voted All-Southeastern Conference, 3rd Team by the Associated Press and Freshman All-SEC by the league’s coaches.
In the following interview, Steele talks about how the expectations have made him a better player, his favorite moments of his first season, and even his ideal vacation getaway.
How do the expectations put on you ever since you signed with Alabama make you a better basketball player?
“The expectations I had, you know replacing Antoine and how good of a player he was, made me work harder in the off-season getting ready because coming in I was the weak link. I was the one that wasn’t proven. So I just worked hard so I could make sure that I wasn’t the reason if we weren’t successful.”
So far, what has been your most memorable moment in your first season with the Tide?
“There are a lot. The best win we had was against Charlotte on the road where we won in triple overtime; also going on the road and beating Arkansas and Auburn.”
What about beating Mississippi State on your home court?
“That probably was the best one considering they celebrated the SEC championship last year in our arena. Even though I wasn’t playing, I actually felt the pain. It was a revenge game that we wanted to win.”
You guys went to Alaska during the Thanksgiving holidays. Did this place open your eyes? Is Alaska a future Ronald Steele vacation getaway?
“I liked it because it was a new place to go for me. It was a good place to visit once. We went in the winter, so it was cold and dark and I probably didn’t get the best impression of how it really is there.”
So what’s the ideal Ronald Steele vacation getaway?
“It would probably be back at home. I love being at home, no doubt about it.”
You’ve already got one semester down and it’s halfway through your second semester, so far, what’s your favorite thing about being at the University of Alabama?
“The love for the school, whether it’s basketball, football, and all the other sports. Everyone really loves the sports here and supports them. That’s what I like most about it.”