Standing off to the side of a court after helping the Spiece Indy Heat win its first game at the Bill Hensley Memorial Run-n-Slam Allstar Classic, the New Haven junior deflects questions about his own abilities and rise of his recruiting stock.
He points to the other players on his AAU team as making him better.
He makes sure to mention the smaller schools that have recruited him from the start, not just the big schools that have recently started looking.
He even says he won't be the go-to man next high school season for New Haven with Notre Dame commit VJ Beachem graduating.
Still, as much as he might not want to admit it, the 6-foot-11 Steve McElvene has become a big-time player. Big enough that he has started gaining notice from Kansas State, Clemson and Purdue in recent weeks, he said.
“Two weeks ago, when I was in LA, a couple coaches told me they were interested and called me,” McElvene said. “That means I'm doing better and hopefully more comes.”
McElvene had a slow progression from big man to big-time recruit. He moved to Fort Wayne from Alabama this year and slowly developed his game. Then, in the IHSAA Marion Regional, he announced himself with a 39-point, 33-rebound and 10 blocked shot output over two games.
Now, he finds himself playing on one of the most talented AAU teams in the country. He is alongside four top 50 Rivals recruits.
“I mean, it feels good being surrounded by people that I know are in the upper level of the top 100 (of recruiting rankings) like Trey (Lyles) and Jaquan (Lyle) and them,” McElvene said. “I think it will rub off on me and make me better so I can be up there with them.”
Playing next to some of the most talented players in the state and country has given McElvene a chance to continue to improve. He hopes it is enough to land a scholarship offer from a certain in-state school.
“Purdue was like, they really want me, and I understand that because they got some good players,” McElvene said. “I wouldn't mind going to Purdue … and hopefully by the end of the summer I will (have an offer).”
For the summer, though, he will focus on continuing to get better. He said he has tried to absorb as much as he can from the 6-foot-10 Lyles, who is currently ranked No. 4 in the country for the class of 2014 according to Rivals.
“Since he's been on the team longer, he tells me what to do, and I'm listen to it,” McElvene said. “I mean, it feels good because I know I'm not the only one that's supposed to be doing everything (down low) like in a regular season game. We have to work together and do things.”
Even if McElvene realizes he won't have that help in the regular season at New Haven, his modesty won't let him downplay his teammates.
“I'm not going to be the man in there (at New Haven),” he said. “It's going to be like a big three with my guards. I can't pass myself the ball and everything, so I'm not going to take all of it.”
Then again, if his talents and stock continue to rise like they have, it wouldn't be shocking if he did.