After leading St. Thomas Aquinas High School in scoring and having an impressive spring AAU season, Steve Haney is starting to work his way up the national ladder.
"I've got offers from Oklahoma State, USF, Iowa State, Drake, Valparaiso, Akron, Toledo, a couple more MAC schools," Haney said. "I'd say I hear most often from Oklahoma State, USF, Stanford, Wake Forest and Alabama."
The 6-foot-6, 180-pound shooting guard, originally from Lansing, Michigan, moved to Florida last August and once USF coach Stan Heath saw him at an open gym in September, Haney was firmly on the Bulls radar.
"The couple of times I've been up there I've liked it a lot," Haney said of USF. "The coaching staff has definitely shown a lot of interest. I talk to (assistant coach Andy) Hipsher and coach Heath. Coach Hipsher is a real cool guy; I think we're very similar people so he's real easy for me to get along with. My dad and I both talk to coach Heath."
His dad, Steve Sr., has known Heath for more than 20 years. Haney Sr. played at Loyola Marymount for a season before transferring to San Jose State and then playing professionally in Sweden. Now, father and son work on improving the younger Haney's game.
St. Thomas Aquinas coach Steve Strand said Haney Jr. has made a smooth adjustment after moving from Michigan.
"He fit in really well," Strand said. "It's hard for a kid to walk into an existing situation, but I'd say Steve handled the situation fantastic. He became our leading scorer. We had some good seniors and they accepted him. They're gone now and although Steve has a quiet demeanor, he's done a good job the past couple of months in taking on more of a leadership role. He comes in at night, he comes in on Sundays. It's great when your best player is a gym rat. The other players fall in line."
As for his skills?
"Steve can flat out shoot the ball," Strand said "His dad has developed his shooting form and he's working on his ball handling and athleticism. His basketball IQ is off the charts. He plays the 'three' for us but he's the perfect two-guard in college. He's a good defender and getting better with his on-ball defense. Sometimes defense is a matter of want, especially for a kid that is a high volume scorer."
Last year, Haney led the Raiders to a 21-5 record and a district championship while shooting 49.1 percent from the floor, 36.8 percent beyond the arc and 77 percent from the line.
According to Strand, Haney faced "double teams, box and ones and other junk defenses" in an attempt to contain him.
Haney, an excellent student (3.8 cumulative GPA and 1630 SAT), has a busy summer ahead playing with the Florida Mustangs AAU team and possibly attending a couple of skills camps as well.
"Yeah, we're playing in the Adidas invitational July 11-15 in Indianapolis, the Super Showcase in Orlando July 18-23rd, and may enter the Adidas Super 64 in Vegas July 25-29," Strand said.
Haney hopes to take some unofficial visits next month and then trim his list in the fall. When he does, Haney hinted that Bulls fans should expect USF to be on that list.
"I definitely have a lot of interest in USF," he said.