‘It’s definitely a blessing:’ Gaston-Chapman receives scholarship for spring semester


Mia Hennen

Freshman Steele Gaston-Chapman and the rest of the men’s basketball team celebrate after another goal against South Alabama. The Shockers emerged victorious against South Alabama with a score of 64 – 58.

From the second Steele Gaston-Chapman got the opportunity to walk-on at Wichita State, he knew it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. But Gaston-Chapman’s goals didn’t stop there. He wanted a scholarship. 

Gaston-Chapman’s favorite piece of scripture — “For we walk by faith, not by sight” — echoes how he’s stayed motivated as a walk-on. He’s used that as a mindset to keep his faith, even when the going gets tough.

Last week, Gaston-Chapman was awarded a scholarship for the spring semester.

“The looks of it, it can be however it seems but you just keep your faith, keep your walk, keep going, anything is possible,” Gaston-Chapman said. “My motivation is sky high right now because I can basically do anything as long as I keep God and keep working.”

The route to this point hasn’t been easy. Gaston-Chapman toughed out one season at Southwestern College, an NAIA school in Winfield, Kansas. There he averaged 13.1 points per game and was the KCAC Freshman of the Year. 

But Gaston-Chapman decided to bet on himself. He believed in himself and felt he had the talent to play at the Division-I level. That constant faith came to fruition when Head Coach Isaac Brown presented him with a scholarship for the spring semester.

“It’s definitely a blessing,” Gaston-Chapman said. “I’m very much appreciative of the opportunity that I was given to come here and to walk-on and receiving a scholarship, especially within the same year is just a huge blessing.”

Gaston-Chapman grew up in the area and played his high school basketball at nearby Campus High School with his brother Sterling, who now plays at Tulsa. As a senior, he had the Colts on the cusp of their first-ever state title with a 23-0 record and a berth in the Class 6A state semifinals, but the last two rounds were called off due to COVID-19. 

Now, after earning a scholarship at a school he cheered on as a kid, Gaston-Chapman takes pride in his journey.

“Definitely playing in your hometown, being on the team of Wichita State and being a Wichita kid is just a tremendous honor as well as earning a scholarship,” Gaston-Chapman said. “To do it in your own city is pretty cool.”

Since Gaston-Chapman joined the Shocker basketball program in the summer, he has been known for his work ethic. Brown said that was the main reason he gave Gaston-Chapman the scholarship left over from Matt McFarlane’s transfer in August.

“He’s an everyday guy,” Brown said. “If he was one of the guys that wasn’t an everyday guy, that didn’t take our workout to another level, I wouldn’t have gave him that scholarship, but he’s handling his business in the classroom, he’s been great off the court, he’s been great in the locker room, he’s really positive on the bench. 

“He’s just a positive guy so we needed to give him a scholarship to help him out and he’s been great for us.”

Gaston-Chapman is redshirting this season, while rehabbing a leg injury and making the adjustment to Division-I level. Even though he’s spent every game on the bench, Gaston-Chapman will be the person off the bench to greet someone after a big play. 

His energy has transferred over to practice, giving 100% and helping make his teammates better.

“He’s taken our scout team to another level,” Brown said. “He brings a lot of energy to our practice and giving him the scholarship, I felt that was something we had to do. We look forward to him coming off redshirt and helping us next year.”

Gaston-Chapman has been able to learn from experienced guards, like Craig Porter Jr. and Tyson Etienne, and has learned from them, while adjusting to a new system. He said that this experience will benefit him in the long run.

“Just the flow of the game, it’s definitely a new level for me, coming from where I came from,” Gaston-Chapman said. “To just see from the guys that are ahead of me right now, to watch from them, study how they run in the system and as well to see the flow of the game.”

Gaston-Chapman believes his journey with the Shockers doesn’t stop, after earning a scholarship. He is preparing to make an impact next year, after a year of sitting back and observing a new level of play. 

“Coming in with a mindset that I knew that I was good enough to walk-on but to actually play here was always my mindset,” Gaston-Chapman said. “Coming in and proving myself and proving that I could be on this level was my main goal and I ended up getting a scholarship out of it.”