To say that Rainbow Warriors point guard Brocke Stepteau has seen it all during his career at Manoa would be an understatement.
The 5-foot-9 redshirt junior began his collegiate career on the bench behind the likes of Roderick Bobbitt and Quincy Smith. For a couple of years, Stepteau was known primarily for his role in the team’s “Hawaii 5-0” celebrations from the bench.
But as a redshirt sophomore, everything changed.
“Guys went through the fire last year a little bit a lot last year … Brocke’s an experienced guy after going through what he did last year,” said head coach Eran Ganot.
With the NCAA’s looming allegations holding the Warriors in limbo, there was a high roster turnover last season as the team experienced an unprecedented roster turnover.
While some of the team’s starters decided to turn pro and some second-string players decided to transfer elsewhere, Stepteau remained firm on his commitment to the program, even if it meant undergoing trial by fire last season.
“Last year, I was kinda shaky with my confidence. It was my first year playing, trying to get my rhythm back,” Stepteau said. “But this year, I have a lot of confidence in my teammates and a lot of confidence in me.”
Stepteau had to learn on the fly when he was pushed into the starting lineup 19 games into last season, averaging 6.4 points per game with 3.0 assists while shooting a 36.7 percent from the field and 28.8 percent from three-point range.
But while the Warriors finished 14-16 in 2016, there was a lot of optimism surrounding the team’s focus on youth development going into 2017. Now a redshirt junior for the Warriors, Stepteau had to quickly adapt from being an unheralded underclassman to a veteran leader.
“You’re starting to see that confidence,” Ganot said.
Through eight games, Stepteau is averaging 23.6 minutes per game - good enough for fifth on the team. He’s only started two games this season, but has played hard whenever his services have been called upon.
He’s averaging a career-high 9.4 points per game along with 2.3 assists per game while shooting a team-high 65.7 percent from the field and an absurd 56.3 percent from deep.
Most of those three-pointers have come late in the shot clock when his team has needed a basket.
“He doesn’t take many bad shots,” Ganot said. “In fact, the ones you consider tough are usually when it’s (the end) of the shot clock. He’s had a knack for that. Knowing part of that position is having a knock for the shot clock situation to make sure we get a shot up there. But he’s been a key guy for us, for sure.”
Receiving the ball as the shot clock winds down puts a lot of pressure on a player to make a basket. But ask Stepteau how he feels when he pulls up from deep and let’s his shot fly; he’ll be sure to tell you that in this those moments, he feels at ease.
“Any time the shot clock is getting low or anytime I feel like we need to make a play, (my teammates) have faith in me to try to do that. I’m way more confident this year - I think it’s showing so far.”
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