Austin Steed has yet to sign an autograph.
That day is coming.
"He was the most dominating player we saw in Georgia or South Carolina this year," South Aiken senior Rod West said. "That guy was just a beast down low to deal with and try to stop."
Steed has been a player who stood out since a growth spurt added four inches to his frame the summer before he started high school.
The all-state pick received a scholarship offer from Tennessee before his junior year. He signed to play for South Carolina before his senior season got under way.
And yet there was still some debate as to who The Augusta Chronicle All-Area Georgia Boys Player of the Year would be.
Steed was a strong candidate after averaging 16.5 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocked shots per game. Others were considered, but in the end the 6-foot-7 center's game was just too strong to be ignored.
"In the end Austin Steed was the best player on Butler. Butler was the best area team," Hephzibah coach Bob Klofenstine said. "And Austin is the player going off to play at the highest level of college basketball. Sounds easy when you look at it like that, I think."
Steed's critics would acknowledge his skills. He could win a game with a jumper, a pass, a blocked shot, a dunk or a rebound.
But they would also note that he has as much unrealized potential as any other good player around Augusta.
Steed always seemed like a boy trying to figure out how he could play in a man's body.
"I've always had the focus of growing and developing and working on my game every year," Steed said.
Even his own coach acknowledged the issues behind the area's budding star.
"The nights he decided he was going to take basketball seriously, Austin was one of the best players in the state," Butler coach Rob Johnson said. "But since he's been at Butler some people have noticed his maturity level. That's not just his problem. It's like that with a lot of kids these days. ... His potential is limitless if he ever locks in on working to be the best player he can be in practice every day. The only times he ever frustrated me were the times he tried to do too much in games."
He's growing up. His attitude about the free throws he missed in the final 47 seconds of the state playoff loss to Spencer are proof of that. Butler lost 58-55 on a night where Steed missed five of seven free throws and made only 7 of his 21 attempts from the field.
"It's all part of my maturing in basketball," Steed said. "You win some and lose some. No player wins them all. Maybe the next time I am at the line again I will think of that game and knock them down. I was mad about it. It was a tough ride home.
"But I did give it my all. I gave it my 110 percent. It just wasn't meant to be for our team this year I guess."
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