1 on 1 with Hunter Stevens

Rusty Nixon

Q – Tell us about your family?

A – My brother is Sam who played football here – really good at it. He went to Bemidji (Minnesota) but he just transferred to Taylor and we all like that better because he's closer. He's recovering from a torn ACL. My mom is Angie Stevens – Hunter – which is why my name is what it is. She played volleyball at IU. My dad is Darren Stevens. He moved here as a sophomore from Texas, and his degree is in landscape architecture but that has nothing to do with his actual job. He's a manager in a pharmaceutical company.

Q – You have quite the DNA background for athletics. Your mom was a great athlete, your dad was a great athlete, your brother was a great athlete. It kind of runs in the family.

A – Kind of. I don't remember any part of my life where I didn't do some sport. I guess we kind of came out of the womb and were doing something. I golfed at one time. I used to play tennis. That's kind of funny because neither my brother or I play tennis anymore. My grandma wasn't happy when we told her we weren't going to play tennis. I used to run track. I did that my freshman year but I had to stop doing that for AAU basketball, because I wanted to play in college and that's what you have to do.

My mom is an incredible volleyball player, and it's cool because you look at the (Athletic) Wall of Fame and my grandma is up there, my two uncles are up there, my mom – then there's my dad who never made it on the wall...

Q - ...Maybe not on the wall but he was a heckuva player...

A – He was. He ran track his senior year and he should have done it way longer than that. I've been insanely blessed. My dad's side of the family is athletic but it doesn't mean as much. I could play the worst game of my life and my grandma (Stevens) would just say 'Hunter you did so good.' because she always listens and I'll say 'Grandma I was really horrible'. My grandma Hunter sometimes I'd be afraid to talk to her after a game because she would tell me everything I did wrong. I like that. It made me tougher.

Q – Let's talk about that for a second because you aren't just a coach's kid – your mom coached here – but you're a coach's grandkid and not just any coach – we're talking a Hall of Fame coach...

A – It's hard. (Laughs) Then you add my uncles. My uncle Neil has been a big coach for my cousins. The support in my family is insane. And Grandma is more of a 'Grandma' now because she hasn't coached for a long time but she's always got suggestions. (Smiles) They're always pretty right on.

Q – How do you think that affected you growing up? You've been around it since you were born.

A – I actually thought it was strange that other people didn't put the same emphasis on sports that I did. Even in kindergarten I wanted to win and be the best I could be. I think that's because of my parents and my family. I remember a tennis tournament when I had to play (cousin) Erin. It was like the hardest thing (laughs). It was like civil war in my family. I think I ended up winning. (Smiles) She'd probably best me now but it was a big deal. Cousin against cousin and my family is so competitive. My little cousin Adam is a spitfire. He'll compete with you in anything. I love that about my family. I don't think I could be in a family where we didn't have that type of competition with each other. I love it.

Q – How was it growing up with your brother – a heckuva a football player – did he protect 'little sister' or was it beat down time when the two of you got together?

A – When we were younger I worshiped the ground he walked on but I also knew just how to push his buttons. (Smiles, pause and a chuckle) and he could pound me. When we were younger I could hold my own. We became best friends when he got in junior high and decided to like me. He tells me everything I tell him everything.

Q – Do you think he helped make you tougher?

A – Oh yeah. He's not a wimp. He's the toughest person I know. I wanted to be like him growing up. Just naturally athletic.

Q – Why basketball for you?

A – I don't know. I used to swim and I really loved it. I didn't really start volleyball until seventh grade. I used to really like soccer. I don't know. Basketball just hit home for me somewhere in junior high. I didn't know what I was capable of but...my favorite feeling is being out there by myself with my headphones on doing a basketball workout. It's like home for me. It's a stress reliever. I know if I have a bad day at school I'm going to have a really good practice. I can control what goes on.

Q – What does the future hold for you?

A – I can't wait to start my basketball career at Hillsdale. It's just such a family place. I'm going to major in sports psychology right now. I might eventually change to sports management. I want to eventually become a graduate assistant. My goal is to become a coach myself. I might minor in Spanish. I went on a mission trip to Costa Rica last summer with the team and I want to go back and I'd like to be able to communicate with the people I help.

Q – Probably coaching in your future?

A – I can't see my life without basketball. I have such a passion for it. That's what I want to do.

Q – If you could have a talk right now with a little girl right now wanting to be like you what would you say?

A – Don't ever feel entitled. All you can do is work hard. Don't ever stop. The only way to prove yourself is by working hard.