(Editor’s note: Story by Montana Sports Information)
MISSOULA — As a senior in high school, Michael Steadman led James Logan High School to a 19-8 record and a berth in the state tournament. One year later, as a freshman at City College of San Francisco, the Rams went 29-3 and advanced to the semifinals of the California state tournament. His sophomore season was even stronger, going 33-1 and winning the CCCAA state championship.
After two years at a junior college, Steadman was ready for the transition to Division-I basketball, but after experience plenty of winning and success, it was a shock when San Jose State went 4-27 a year ago, including 1-17 in the Mountain West.
As the Spartans’ top player – he averaged a team-best 13.2 points and 8.5 rebounds while ranking third in the Mountain West for shooting – Steadman knew he wanted to spend his final collegiate season at a school with a culture of winning.
“When I decided to leave San Jose State, I knew that I wanted to find a place that would help me develop as a player and a place where I could win,” Steadman said.
Enter Montana, a team that has won 52 games over the past two seasons, has won back-to-back Big Sky Conference championships – regular season and tournament – and has played in the NCAA tournament in each of the past two years. The stretch isn’t just recent either. Montana has qualified for the NCAA tournament five times in the past decade and hasn’t had a losing season in 12 years.
Steadman, a 6-10 forward, signed a National Letter of Intent on Monday. He will have one year of eligibility remaining, for the 2019-20 season.
“I’m really excited to finish my career at Montana,” Steadman said. “I want to improve my game, and I feel like the coaches at Montana can bring the best out of me.”
Montana’s coaching staff saw Steadman’s name in the transfer portal and immediately jumped at the opportunity to add a veteran player.
“It’s not often that you find a low-post player with experience and someone who fits your system,” head coach Travis DeCuire said. “With the numbers that he produced in the Mountain West, we think he can be an all-conference-type player, with even more room for growth.”
During his one-year stop at San Jose State, Steadman averaged a team-high 13.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, scoring in double figures 23 times and recording 11 double-doubles. The talented forward was not only the Spartans’ top player, but one of the top athletes in the Mountain West. Steadman ranked third in the league for field-goal percentage (.483) and in the top 15 for both scoring and rebounding.
Steadman scored a career-high 24 points and 17 rebounds in a game vs. Air Force, one of six 20-point scoring games on the season.
Prior to his one season at San Jose State, Steadman played two seasons at the City College of San Francisco (2016-17 and 2017-18). He played in 63 games, making 33 starts, and averaged 8.9 points and 5.4 rebounds during his sophomore season. Steadman is originally a native of Union City, Calif., where he was an All-East Bay honoree at James Logan High School.
He acknowledged that his first move away from California will be different, but something he’s excited for.
“Montana will bring me new things,” he said. “When I came on my visit, I noticed how supportive the community was of the school and its athletes. Everyone was really friendly.”
While Griz fans won’t see Steadman on the court in 2019-20, the following season will be full of excitement.
“I think they will see a kid that goes out and plays hard,” Steadman said. “I think they’ll see someone who is skilled and is focused on sustaining the winning tradition the program already has.”
Steadman joins a talented trio of California prep stars who will begin their collegiate careers next fall in Missoula. Among numerous other accolades, Derrick Carter-Hollinger was named the East County Player of the Year, Kyle Owens earned All-SoCal Varsity team honors and Josh Vazquez was named to the All-CIF Open Division first team. The trio went a combined 72-21 (.774) during their season seasons. Additionally, in January, Montana added Towson transfer and Turkish native Yagizhan Selcuk, a 6-8 forward who will be eligible to suit up around the start of Big Sky play.
2018-19 (San Jose State): Played one season at San Jose State, leading the Spartans for scoring (13.2 points per game) and rebounding (8.5 per game)… Played in all 31 games, earning 29 starts… Scored in double figures 23 times, including 11 double-doubles… Ranked third in the Mountain West for shooting (.483) and in the top 15 for both scoring and rebounding… Led the Spartans for minutes played (30.5 per game) and tied for the team lead for blocked shots (14)… Scored at least 20 points on six occasions, including a Division-I high 24 vs. Air Force (Jan. 26)… Had 14 rebounds and a career-high four blocked shots vs. Southern Utah (Nov. 10)… Tallied 21 points and 11 rebounds vs. Santa Clara (Nov. 24)… Scored the game-winning layup in a non-conference win over Bethune Cookman (Dec. 6)… During a stretch from Nov. 15 through Jan. 2, scored in double figures in 11 consecutive games… In addition to his 24 points vs. Air Force (Jan. 26), he also had a career-best 17 rebounds… Scored 21 points in back-to-back games at Air Force (Feb. 23) and New Mexico (Feb. 27), in addition to at Fresno State (March 9).
2016-18 (City College of San Francisco): During his two-year career, scored 498 points and collected 319 rebounds… Played in 63 games, earning 33 starts… Averaged 7.9 points per game on .476 shooting, in addition to 5.1 rebounds per game… During his sophomore season, averaged 8.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots per game… Scored in double figures 13 times as a sophomore, including 32 points in a win over Los Angeles Trade-Technical College… The Bulls won conference championships both seasons with Steadman on roster, advancing to the state semifinals as a freshman and winning a state title as a sophomore.
High School: Is a 2016 graduate of James Logan High School in Union City, Calif. … Averaged 15.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game as a senior, helping the Colts to a 19-8 record… Earned All-East Bay and all-league honors.
Personal: Born in Mountain View, Calif. … Hometown is Union City, Calif. …. Parents are Michael and Aida Steadman… Has an older sister and younger brother… Majoring in business management.