Steele ‘Standing Strong’ Amid Program Upheaval

While new MSU basketball coach Rick Ray is off on the recruiting trail – and rollin’ in a sweet ride (CLICK HERE) – shooting guard Jalen Steele took time this afternoon to speak with us media hacks. He’s essentially become the face of the program, for now at least, what with so many people leaving early and transferring.

There were rumors, too, of Steele possibly leaving the program. Nothing to that, he said.

“I sat back and thought about it,” Steele said. “Me and Wendell (Lewis), we’ve been here so long, and we worked so hard for what we’re about to get next year, and how much we worked, and we’ve still got more work to do. I told Wendell, man, don’t listen to all that. We’re going to stay still, stay strong, and stick this on out.”

(For video of Steele, CLICK HERE.)

I’ll have a story on Steele in tomorrow’s Journal, but here are a few highlights of the chat.

“Coming in here from everything I’ve been through, it’s been quite a ride. But I’m here, I’m standing strong, and I’m ready to move on to another year.”

• His first impression of Ray: “Everything that he do is hard. No mess-ups, everything’s got to be straight forward, everything’s on time. He’s the type of person that don’t accept nothing less than what you can do.”

• On expanding his role: “This year I’m focusing more on dribbling and driving more this year, facilitating, getting my other players involved, being more a leader on the court.” He added that he’ll be the “main focus” bringing the ball up versus pressure and will have some point guard duties.

• On the importance of signing a point guard in this class: “I hope he comes in this summer and works out with us more so we get to know him, and he can get to know us, so we can all develop that relationship so we can have the bond before the season starts.”

• On the weightlifting and conditioning regimens under Ray: “It’s changed tremendously, too. It’s more a fast-paced, more weight. There’s no breaks between each rep, like you’ve got to go, go, go. And once you do that, you get your conditioning up and you get your strength up. It’s changed a whole lot.”