FORT WAYNE – When it comes to playing in the Nancy Rehm/Border Wars Classic, Monte Stevenson has a legacy to uphold. It seems as if winning the Most Valuable Player award runs in the family.
The New Haven senior’s brother, Mike, won the award in 2011 while playing with now-closed Harding.
Cousin Terry Collins won it while playing with Snider in 2000 and his uncle, Keion Brooks, got the honor in 1995 while with North Side.
No pressure there. Right?
It is a little pressure, but not a big deal, Stevenson said.
Even if I don’t win it, (Mike) will still think he is better than me. It is an honor to be selected to any all-star team. I feel honored to be playing in this game.
The 5-foot-7, 130-pound Stevenson has been fighting expectations pretty much his entire athletic career.
Despite his size, the point guard led the Bulldogs to the regional championship game last season and averaged 10.1 points, 5.2 assists, 3.2 steals and 2.6 rebounds per game and earned All-NHC second team honors.
Being little just made me work even harder, he said. It runs in the family, so being little doesn’t really affect me.
Stevenson seems to offset his lack of size with quickness, speed and smarts.
Norwell’s Randy Hawkins, the Indiana boys coach in the Nancy Rehm/Border Wars games, knows about trying to game plan against Stevenson, who led New Haven to a co-NHC championship
He makes up for it with so many things he can do very well as far as passing and shooting, Hawkins said of Stevenson’s size.
His shooting has really improved over the last couple of years. As a junior, we let him shoot the three more and backed off him, but his senior year he has proven he can shoot the three. He has come around and really worked at it.
He is quick, smart and understands where to get the ball. If he has a good shot, he will take it. He sees the floor very well. With his quickness, he is tough to guard. You don’t have too many guys who have the kind of speed.
One of the Stevenson’s teammates this year was junior Steve McElvene, who is listed at 6-11, 283 pounds.
They gave the Bulldogs possibly the biggest player in the conference as well as the smallest.
Any time I would go talk to him, he just towered over me, Stevenson said of McElvene.
Playing with him was pretty good. He helped us grow as a team, and we helped him grow as a player.
Hawkins called Stevenson and McElvene a lethal combination
Then you throw in (V.J.) Beachem and you throw in Jabar Ray, that was an impressive team, and Monte did a great job of leading them this year and hopefully he will do the same Saturday, Hawkins said.
Stevenson said his college plans are to attend Ball State and attempt to be a walk-on player for new Cardinals coach James Whitford.