Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: While brother Jordan lights up the links, Jesuit's Steven Spieth emerging on the hardwood
Jesuit’s Steven Spieth scored 27 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and dished seven assists in a game earlier this month. The performance showed how Spieth, a 6-5 junior guard/forward who is blossoming into a big-time recruit, can do just about everything.
At least on the basketball court. As for on the golf course …
“I’m a terrible putter,” he said.
I had to ask about his golf game, of course. When you’re the brother of the second-ranked amateur golfer in the world, a guy who has been mentioned in the same sentence as Tiger Woods, the question has to be asked.
Jordan Spieth, the older brother who is the only player other than Woods to win multiple U.S. Junior Amateur titles, provides the answer.
“Steven will only play golf under three conditions,” said Jordan, who is now a freshman at the University of Texas. “He needs to have a cart, buffalo wings and be with friends.”
“That’s entirely accurate,” Steven said with a smile.
Golf is the passion for the big brother. For the little brother, who is two years younger but about four inches taller, golf is just a way to have fun and get some “ridiculously good” wings at Brookhaven Country Club.
“I pretty much always knew basketball was going to be my sport,” Spieth said. “I was always the tallest kid.”
Spieth is still one of the tallest, but he handles the ball so well that he often runs the offense for Jesuit (17-4, 3-2 in District 9-5A). His versatility is one reason he looks destined to be the fourth college athlete in the family. His mother played basketball at Moravian College, a Division III school in Pennsylvania, and his father played baseball at Lehigh. Jordan and Steven also have a younger sister, Ellie, who is 10 years old.
Spieth, who is ranked No. 23 on TexasHoops.com’s state recruiting list for the Class of 2013, is just beginning to explore college possibilities. There are lots of them, because Jesuit coach Chris Hill has a notepad filled with names of schools that have come to campus to see Spieth, who averages 11.7 points per game and leads Jesuit in rebounds (5.7) and assists (4.9).
“When he’s on the court now, everyone else gets better,” Hill said. “His leadership and ability to incorporate his teammates has been the [best] thing to watch develop in the three years I’ve had him.”
For the first two of those three years, Steven and Jordan were on the Jesuit campus together. As Steven developed in basketball, Jordan wowed the golf world. As a 16-year-old, competing against professionals in the 2010 HP Byron Nelson Championship, he finished 16th.
The big brother gets a lot of attention, obviously, but Steven said he has never felt that he was in Jordan’s shadow.
“If it was ever hard on him, he didn’t show it,” Jordan said. “It’s not his personality to be the jealous type.”
There’s much more sibling support than rivalry. Jordan is excited that Steven is getting his chance to experience the recruiting process, and Steven lists one of his favorite memories as watching Jordan compete in the Nelson. Steven liked hearing golf fans in the gallery gush about his brother.
But their close relationship does allow for some good-natured pokes at each other. Steven, between bites of buffalo wings during lunch last week at Jesuit, took a long-distance jab at his brother’s sport.
His perfect deadpan delivery cracked up Hill in the coach’s office.
“Basketball is a different level of athleticism,” Steven said, “so I think I’m actually more impressive than him.
“He had to stick with golf because he wasn’t as good at the other sports.”