Rookie Dennis Smith Jr. is signed and sealed for Mavericks
Jordan Spieth is the No. 3 ranked golfer in the world, a Masters and U.S. Open champion and is now the face of the game.
He’s from Dallas and won his 10th PGA tour title last month after chipping in from the bunker on the first playoff hole at the Travelers Championship.
And he has a younger brother playing for the Dallas Mavericks.
Steven Spieth, 22, is on the Mavericks’ Las Vegas summer league roster. The team begins play Saturday against Chicago at the Thomas & Mack Center.
“It’s great. The first day was just getting to know some of the guys. I grew up watching the Mavericks so it’s an exciting experience,” Steven Spieth said. “I don’t know if I have a first memory. I came to watch a playoff game in 2011. Just growing up and coming to the games with my dad or sitting around the TV and cheering on the Mavs.”
A graduate of Dallas Jesuit and Brown University, Steven Spieth was a two-time, first-team all-district selection in high school.
In his senior season at Brown, Spieth averaged career highs in points (17.3), steals (1.4) and minutes (34.6) per game, and in points, minutes, field goals, 3-pointers, 3-point percentage, free throws and free-throw percentage. He was a first-team All-Ivy League selection and earned CoSIDA Academic All-American honors.
He finished his career as Brown’s fifth all-time scorer with 1,367 points and his 117 career starts are the most-ever at Brown and second-most in conference history.
What are your goals?
“I’m going to do whatever the coaches ask me to do. I hope to play well enough to raise an eyebrow either here or somewhere else. My goal is to make the team and to play at the highest level I can play at — do that and continue to work every day and do my best to try to stick around.”
Are you comfortable playing on the NBA level?
“I figure I have nothing to lose. It’s just basketball and that’s a great group of guys from what I can tell after the first day. The guys make me comfortable out there and I’m going to play hard and do what I do.”
What is the biggest difference between college and pro basketball?
“They’re a little bigger here, little bigger and more athletic. I think I can stick around.”
Is getting noticed with the Mavericks or another team part of your incentive?
“I think that pretty much everyone that wasn’t drafted or signed a contract — that they want to raise an eyebrow wherever you can. Obviously, I’d love to play for my hometown if I get that opportunity. That’s where I probably prefer to be, but I’m just going to do what I do and play really hard and see what comes of it.”
Is it a blessing or a burden to be the brother of one of the best golfers in the world?
“It’s never a burden. It’s a blessing for sure. Lots of good things come out of it. I’m a really big fan of his and he’s a really big fan of mine. I’m sure he’ll be watching this somewhere.”
Have you and Jordan talked about your opportunity with the Mavericks?
“Absolutely. He just shot me a quick congrats. He asked me to go on vacation with him before all of this. I said I’d go to Cabo with him, but figured this was a better vacation than that and try to work my way on the squad here.”
Can Jordan give you any advice in general that can be helpful?
“The biggest thing he said was to take in the moment, enjoy it and just play as hard as I possibly can. You go through this process one time, especially a process like this where you’re seeing everything professionally for the first time. That’s the biggest piece of advice he’s given me, just soak it all in and take it for what’s it worth.”
Are you a better at golf than Jordan is at basketball?
“Yeah, just keep it easy.”
How many strokes does he give you?
“We don’t play for score. I won’t do that. We’ll play for fun. We try to a couple of times a year, but we don’t keep score.”
When he’s in a tournament on Sundays, do you think, “That’s my brother!”?
“Yeah, especially for most of his majors. I’ve been there. For his wins, it’s been an awesome experience and surreal. After four years, you kind of get used to it.”
Where were you when he made that chip shot to win the Travelers Championship?
“At home on the couch. It was kind of nice. The family was sitting there, Dad, Mom, Sister and I were sitting on the couch watching.”
Jordan was kind of struggling, but came back with that playoff hole. Was that a dream scenario?
“My mom was kind of a wreck, but I was pretty calm and collected. During the playoff, I gave him pretty good odds to win that.”