Shockers of the Roundhouse: Craig Steven goes all out

Only averaging 2.5 points per game throughout his basketball career at Wichita State from 1998-2003, Craig Steven still found a way to get himself an average of 20.5 minutes of playing time per game.

Today, Steven has four children, a wife of 10 years and a job as the corporate adviser at Spangles Restaurants.

Sitting at the corporate offices of Spangles, Steven eats fries trying out new seasonings.

“I’ve been eating a lot of fries the last month, which isn’t the greatest thing for my diet,” Steven laughed. “You learn to chew and spit, chew and spit. A lot of people don’t know you can get the flavor of something by just chewing it.”

Steven approaches his job the same way he’s approached everything in life: no task is too big, and give it everything you’ve got.

Coming out of high school, Steven was recruited by the University of New Mexico to play football. When UNM hired a new coach and rescinded his scholarship, he decided to play basketball for WSU, his hometown team.

He played two seasons for Randy Smithson, redshirted Mark Turgeon’s first year, and played for Turgeon his last two years.

As a freshman at WSU, Steven was named the team’s co-captain and asked to lead a group of older players as an underclassman.

“I didn’t think anything of it at the time, because I knew what Randy and his coaching staff wanted, and it was to work your tail off,” Steven said. “If you heard a whistle, don’t stop. The whistle didn’t mean anything. If you had to knock a guy out, knock a guy out. If you had to box a guy out and put them on the floor, then put them on the floor. Win every sprint. Don’t complain, and I did all those things.”

Steven’s first two years at WSU, he was with his team 20 hours a day. Between practice, film sessions, weight room, training table and dinner, the team was almost always together.

“There was no free time,” he said. “It was pretty crazy. So, as a whole, I think we all needed each other just to get through the day. We really needed each other.”

When Smithson left in 2000, Mark Turgeon came in to coach the Shockers.

In Turgeon’s first practice as head coach, there was a loose ball. Steven and C.C. McFall dove for the ball. The whistles blew and Steven, who was used to playing through the whistle, kept fighting with McFall over the ball.

Turgeon stepped in and ended it. Turgeon said fighting was not allowed.

“He just set the tone right there,” Steven said. “I don’t remember ever fighting, not one fight, and there were ten fights a practice with Randy. My first two years were tough. Turgeon coming in was a breath of fresh air.”

He gives a lot of credit to Turgeon for turning WSU into a winning program and hanging an NIT banner by the time Steven graduated. However, Steven remembers the first two years more than the last three.

“It should be the opposite, but we went through so much,” he said. “There was so much of having a teammate’s back and needing each other just to get through the next day. I think that’s why those two years mean so much more to me.”

With what Steven was put through during the first two years, he feels he can accomplish anything. Nothing is too tough.

After graduation, Steven didn’t do much for three months. He hung out and traveled until his dad, the co-owner of Spangles, said he was waiting for Steven to come work for him.

Again, Steven had to start from the bottom and work his way up.

“I opened and closed the store,” Steven said. “ I worked the grill, the fryer, the drive thru. They weren’t going to let me come into the corporate world until I had done what I would be calling on other people to do.”

After several months, he was promoted. He’s been there ever since.

Steven hopes to be remembered for diving on the floor, working his tail off, his willingness to guard anybody on the floor and most of all, loving his teammates.

“In my world, I learn something new everyday. I’m a father with four kids that have four different personalities,” he said. “I preach to my kids everyday to work hard and dive on the floor. I love my family. I just love being around them.”