Hoops player rebounds with faith

Just before his freshman year of high school, Kevin Steenberge and his family moved from New Jersey to the Clarksville area. As a way of connecting with folks, Steenberge was hired by Monsignor Joseph L. Luca, pastor of St. Louis in Clarksville, to serve as their Monday evening receptionist.
It was there, amidst the bulletins to be stuffed and Mass cards to be filled out, that Steenberge got in touch with his faith and his calling to be an example of Christ.
Now, nearly 10 years later, Steenberge, a 6-foot-11-inch professional basketball player, has come back to his parish to renew his commitment to God by receiving the sacrament of confirmation.
Kevin had recently realized that as a young adult, this was something that was important to him. Then on July 27, Bishop W. Francis Malooly, western vicar, along with Monsignor Luca, confirmed Kevin as his family watched during daily Mass at St. Louis.
“Kevin has always been a young man who has his heart in the right place,” said Monsignor Luca. “I know that he wants to be a role model for others and it is such a joy and a pleasure to be able to celebrate the sacrament with him in the context of his parish family and with his own family present.”
Steenberge, the fifth of six children, was an outstanding high school basketball player for River Hill High School, Columbia, averaging 24.8 ppg, 17.3 rebounds, 7.5 blocked shots and 1.6 steals to lead the River Hill Hawks to their only county championship.
From there, Steenberge was recruited by the University of Richmond, where he majored in political science and leadership. According to Steenberge’s mother, Colleen, Steenberge attended Mass regularly with his coach while at the University of Richmond, and began to give serious thought to receiving the sacrament of confirmation.
Steenberge flourished in the world of college hoops, posting second on the school’s career list with 154 blocks in 120 games. Steenberge got 87 starts with the Spiders and shot 52.5 percent from the floor.
Although NBA scouts were looking at Steenberge after college as he worked out with the Washington Wizards, the European League was the right choice for him. A year ago, Steenberge signed a one-year deal with UB Sabadell in Barcelona, Spain, a member of that country’s LEB II league.
Steenberge enjoyed his travels while abroad, saying, “Basketball has given me an opportunity to literally travel around the world.” But Steenberge went on to say that with his strong faith, the game is just that – a game.
“My faith has influenced my career by making everything easier. I can very easily see that basketball is just a game and it’s not the end of the world if a game is lost,” said Steenberge, who now looks to play for Holland.
During Steenberge’s confirmation, his father, Michael, stood beside him as his sponsor – two men proud of their faith, their heritage and their love for one another.
“I cannot express to you how grateful I am for my father,” said Kevin. “He is there for me all the time, through the good and the bad.”
Kevin’s father expressed the same respect for his son, saying, “It has been a great honor to serve as Kevin’s sponsor. I know he wants to use his athletic abilities to help others and to set an example.”

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.