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Boys Basketball Player Of The Year: Century's Steadman Had The Winning Formula

Boys Basketball Player Of The Year: Century's Steadman Had The Winning Formula
Century's Kevin Steadman is the 2015 boys basketball player of the year. (DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

When asked about Century guard Kevin Steadman, South Carroll boys basketball coach Doug Goff leans on his day job to find the proper words.

Goff, a math teacher, puts most of Carroll's basketball crop on an "Algebra 2" level.

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Steadman? He's "AP Calculus."

He's also Times Boys Basketball Player of the Year for the second year in a row.

Goff's Cavaliers finished second in the county to Steadman and the Knights, who have won back-to-back county titles. It's been difficult for any of Carroll's teams to take Century down over the last two years — the only county program to earn victories against Steadman's club over the last 26 regular-season games has been Francis Scott Key.

"Kevin is a winner," said Century coach George Wunder, who has worked with Steadman through summer basketball camps long before the standout arrived at the school as a student. "He's kind of been a winner his whole life. He just knows how to win basketball games."

The senior Steadman is really at the top of his "class" in Carroll.

This season, he averaged a county-best 22.6 points per game. He finished third in rebounds for the Knights (4.9 per game), second in assists (2.8) and first in steals (1.6). He shot 51 percent from the field during his senior campaign, 47 percent on 3-pointers. To round things out, he hit 73 percent of his free throws.

Steadman was just the second player in school history to eclipse the 1,000-point mark, and became Century's all-time leading scorer by the season's end with 1,262. He's done it all with a jumper that few in the county could guard, especially with time running off the clock. He also had a knack for driving through traffic, welcoming the contact and getting to the line.

"I definitely think it was a big part of my game, obviously," Steadman said of his shooting ability. "I always like to think that I could also get it to the hole some, too. Shooting kind of helped with that. If they knew you were a good shooter, they're going to want to close out."

A player who shoots at such a high percentage gives opportunities for the rest of his teammates to make an impact as well.

"I've seen many kids put up numbers," said Wunder, a veteran coach who was at Century for Matt Duerr's 2009 Player of the Year season as well. "He's just so efficient out there, which made the other guys better. He didn't have to take a ton of shots to get his points."

Steadman said he'll carry those individual marks in his memory forever. But, what he'll think of most when his basketball days are over won't be the amount of times he scored 35 or more points in a game (three, most in school history), the number of times he hit six or more 3-pointers in a game (three, also most in school history) or the number of games he accumulated double-digit points from the foul line alone (three, you get the idea).

Steadman has been steadfast that his accomplishments are thanks in large part to the work of those around him.

"It's a lot better to be able to celebrate with somebody," he said. "I worked hard to get to where I am. My teammates, I'm never going to top thanking them for what they did. My coaches as well. That's what really drives me."

That's been the way Steadman has carried himself over the last two seasons. Through dozens of interviews following outstanding individual achievements, he'd rather talk about the ball screens longtime teammates like Brooks Decker or Brad Schuler made, or the persistence of players like Drew Clark in the post.

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"He's definitely not boastful," said Larry Costolo, Century's bookkeeper and scoreboard operator who has seen every high school game Steadman has ever played. "I've never heard him beat his chest after a good game."

Steadman has played basketball at nearly a year-round pace for the past few years, perfecting his craft while still getting gym time with his best friends and teammates. Now he's moving on, unsure at the moment of his next move.

For the last few months, he was fairly busy trying to get Century to the University of Maryland's Xfinity Center for the state semifinals. That dream came to an end on March 9, when Oakdale took down the Knights in the 2A West Region final — a game in which Steadman scored 35 points and hit seven 3-pointers.

On one hand, he'd like to attend a larger university and enjoy the college experience.

"Growing up, I always thought I'd go to college, probably go to a big school, root for a football team, stuff like that," Steadman said.

But then there's his love of the game that afforded him so many opportunities over the years to mature as an athlete, and as a person.

"[I'm] growing to the idea of playing in college," he said.

Steadman is considering getting into coaching at some point, but first, he'd like to enter the business and finance world, where math will become important once again.

Wunder said he has "absolutely no doubt" that Steadman could play at the next level. But, whatever decision the standout guard chooses, his coach said he's sure the player's character will remain the same.

"He does it on the court, he's a role model off the court," the coach said after the team's postseason loss to the Bears. "He does it the right way. He's humble. He's everything in a role model and a leader that we need for our program."

Reach staff writer Matt Owings at 410-857-7893 or matt.owings@carrollcountytimes.com

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