Cloninger Soundoff: Steele makes most of minutes

Posted on March 13, 2014 

Mar 13, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks forward Coty Clarke (4) rebounds in front of South Carolina Gamecocks forward Brian Steele (35) during the second half in the second round of the SEC college basketball tournament at Georgia Dome. South Carolina defeated Arkansas 71-69.

DALE ZANINE — USA TODAY Sports

In March, everybody on the team has to contribute. It doesn’t matter if you rarely take your warmup off, you better be ready and you better be able to produce.

Brian Steele’s always been ready. That’s why he plays so much, despite being a walk-on who – in the words of Frank Martin – is limited by his talent. He gets minutes because he plays every second like his hair’s on fire.

On Wednesday, he had a crucial assist that keyed a 3-pointer. On Thursday, after canning a 3-pointer in the first half, he again helped South Carolina win and advance.

With Arkansas leading 63-62 and 4:25 to play, the game was changing hands on every possession. When Sindarius Thornwell bricked a teardrop floater and the ball was coming down, the USC contingent groaned.

Until Steele – like Superman – swooped in, grabbed the rebound and put it back for two points.

“I saw the ball and went for it, tried to put it in the hoop,” the sophomore said. “Feels real good. I never hesitate to shoot. He’ll let me shoot, and it’s nice to know your coach has confidence in you and backs you.”

He may look like Jimmy Olsen, but don’t tug on his cape.

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