Work ethic, parents are Stepteau’s guiding force

Hawaii point guard Brocke Stepteau was lost in frustration. No matter how often he tried, he struggled to find the right rhythm, the perfect form.

In those moments, he turned to his parents for inspiration. Kristi Stepteau had once worked her way into a marketing job with the New York Knicks, a practice she maintained when the family eventually moved to Dallas. Dr. Torrence Stepteau, an acclaimed anesthesiologist, worked six long days a week and was on call for the seventh.

“He taught me about dedication,” Brocke Stepteau said. “If you want something and you love something, you have to put the time in. Seeing that every day, him getting called into work at 2 in the morning to go back to the hospital, that taught me a lot and made me motivated as a person.”

Stepteau continued working, practicing for hours, and developed into an accomplished rapper.

“When I started making music, I wasn’t very good,” Stepteau said. “I kept working. I wasn’t afraid to work. I kept trying until it worked, and then I found success. About a year ago, it kind of clicked, how to project my voice on beat. That’s kind of an art form.

He said he has spent a lifetime trying to become a better basketball player. When he realized there would be no growth spurt — he topped at 5 feet 9 as a Dallas Jesuit Prep School senior — he focused on out-maneuvering taller obstacles.

“I tried to find ways to use my height as a weapon,” Stepteau said. “Most people don’t want to get that low to guard me. I’ve got quickness and speed. When I drive, it’s tough for people to get low to stop me. I try to use that to my advantage.”

He knew he would never be able to dunk, so he focused on ball-handling. His father implored him to dribble as often with his left hand as with his dominant right hand. An a-ha moment came in the fifth grade, when he mastered the cross-over move. “It’s a science to that,” Stepteau said. “It’s creative. It’s an art form, like dancing.”

Through the years, he learned to curl past post defenders for layups or loft floaters over would-be swatters. Those moves earned him a walk-on invitation to join the Rainbow Warriors.

“Not too many schools recruited me out out of high school, because they thought I was too small,” Stepteau said. “Hawaii gave me an opportunity. I always felt I could play at the Division I level if I had the chance.”

Stepteau made cameo appearances in 18 games as a freshman, averaging 2.4 minutes during the 2015-16 season. The next year, he played in 30 games, starting 22, but shot only 36.7 percent from the field and 28.8 percent from behind the arc. During the summer before his junior season, he spent hours working on a jumper, sometimes with a skills coach serving as defender or rebounder, sometimes pantomiming moves without a ball. Last season, his accuracy was 51.2 percent from the field and 44.4 percent on 3s. He was awarded a scholarship this offseason.

“Just repetition,” Stepteau said. “Music and basketball both have the same story for me.”

GUARDS

NO. PLAYER CL HT WT HOMETOWN

0 Leland Green Jr. 6-2 185 Los Angeles

The skinny: Fully recovered from offseason shoulder surgery

1 Drew Buggs So. 6-3 195 Long Beach, Calif.

The skinny: A power point with post-up moves

2 Brocke Stepteau Sr.` 5-9 170 Dallas

The skinny: Drive-and-kick guard with efficient 3-point shot

3 Eddie Stansberry Jr. 6-3 190 San Francisco.

The skinny: JC transfer is team’s best 3-point shooter

23 Sheriff Drammeh Sr. 6-3 160 Stockholm, Sweden

The skinny: Can play point or shooting guard

24 Huthifah Abdeljawad So. 6-0 160 Honolulu

The skinny: Earned roster spot after serving as last season’s manager

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