Stein’s son signs on for 2015-16 men’s basketball season

Bradie Gray

USI basketball signed another Stein.

Alex Stein, son of the women’s head basketball coach and former USI men’s basketball player Rick Stein, signed his national letter of intent to play Southern Indiana Basketball late last month.

The six-foot-three Reitz guard was second team All-Metro and honorable mention All-SIAC for the 2013-14 season.

He averaged 12.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists as a junior and shot 61 percent from the field, 36 percent from beyond the three-point arc and 78 percent from the line.

Men’s head basketball coach Rodney Watson said he has had his eyes on Alex since he was in the seventh grade.

“His skill level has gotten better every year since seventh grade and that’s hard to find in an athlete. Usually they are pretty consistent throughout their career,” Watson said.

Despite being a coach’s son, Watson doesn’t believe having a parent on campus was a major aspect of Alex’s decision to play at USI.

“I never got the impression that Rick and his wife didn’t want him to play here, but I knew that in the end it would be Alex’s decision,” he said.

Watson isn’t the only one excited about the team’s newest addition. Coach Stein said he can’t wait to see what the next four years will hold for Alex.

“My excitement is in how good of a fit he thought it was and how good he feels about his decision,” Rick said. “I think one of the things about Alex is he really puts the time and effort into his game. He doesn’t just rest on it, he’s working at it everyday and he wants to keep getting better.”

Rick said he feels that Alex’s decision to play here was a fairly easy one to make despite being recruited by several Division I schools as well as other schools in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

“I don’t think there’s any question that Alex likes to win. He is a winner and he has played for great teams throughout his career and I think he’s been a major factor in that, but when you have a chance to play for a program like USI that tends to consistently compete for conference championships and has a chance to compete for a national title, you can’t get those things at every place, and that was a definitely a huge part of the decision making,” Rick said.

Although basketball seems to run in the Stein family genes, Rick did not coach any of Alex’s basketball teams when he was growing up.

“I did the behind the scenes coaching stuff more than anything. I always tried to stay away from coaching (him),” he said. “I guess the only place I probably coached him the most was in little league baseball. I never coached for him in anything else. I just really didn’t want to do that. He needed to get coaching in other ways and from other athletes and he’s really been blessed to have a lot of good coaches along the way.”

Alex agreed that the decision to attend USI wasn’t difficult to make.

“What really led me to USI was the winning program and I just love the coaches,” he said. “I haven’t taken my official visit yet, I’m doing that soon, but I’ve been to practices and all the players are really welcoming and friendly.”

Alex was one of the first two players to sign on for the 2015-16 season along with another Reitz student, Jacob Norman.

“I’ve played with (Norman) at Reitz and on other teams and I’m excited to spend the next four years playing with him,” Alex said. “I think this is a great opportunity for him.”

He said he is ready to start his career at USI.

“I started in elementary school in about second or third grade and played in school on travel teams, then in middle school still doing both school and travel teams,” Alex said. “I really started playing a lot in the seventh grade. That’s when I really started working on it. I just feel like I really have a passion for it.”