BLUE HILL—The George Stevens Academy boys basketball team is on a roll this season, and the Class C State Championship is theirs to lose. One of the untold stories of the team, though, is senior guard Steven Wang, who is a defensive asset off the bench for the undefeated Eagles.
Wang is a foreign transplant from Chongqing, China, and a four-year veteran of the basketball program at George Stevens, first playing JV before joining varsity mid-season last year.
“Joining the team helped me make friends here,” said Wang. “My teammates have been playing together since they were kids, and I just had to jump in. They have all been really great.”
Wang played elementary school basketball, but once he entered middle school his game changed to mostly pick-up ball, as organized basketball did not exist at his school. He stayed active in the game, watching both the NBA and Chinese Basketball Association. The game play of the professional leagues and pick-up basketball were similar for Wang, who grew accustomed to the one-on-one match-ups that style of play fed into. Once he came to the states and began playing at GSA, he said “reality set in.”
“When they [foreign students] think of basketball, they see the NBA and they think that’s what the game is,” said GSA head coach Dwayne Carter. “I think once they’re acclimated they understand what we have to do, and that we have to do it as a team. Steven has really become a team player, because he’s been so dedicated to the process.”
Wang proved his dedication to his team this year, as he stayed at school during the winter break to make sure he did not miss a single practice or game. Because of scheduling, Carter had to make the difficult decision to mandate that varsity players had to stay during break, despite empathizing with players like Wang who do not get to see their families throughout the year.
“It was a huge sacrifice,” said Carter. “I’m really proud of him for making the choice to stay. Not everyone in his position would have done that.”
For Wang, though, the choice was an easy one.
“If you love basketball, it’s not a tough decision.”
—Steven Wang, on not going home for the holidays
Off the court, Wang said that being a part of the team has helped him understand the culture of the area.
“In Maine, it’s woods, trucks, lobsters and lobstermen,” he said, and traveling anywhere requires substantial driving time.
“I remember the first time we went to Walmart, I was like ‘so we have to drive half an hour?’ Driving to games, a lot of where we go is far away, but I have gotten used to [it].”
The highlight of his George Stevens basketball career was being part of the 2016 state championship team, Wang said. “That’s how I want to end senior year, with another championship.”