Matt Steigenga MSU photo

Happy Birthday Matt Steigenga, Mr. Basketball 1988!

If you see former Michigan State Spartans player and current basketball analyst Matt Steigenga today, wish him a happy 47th birthday!

(photo: Mlive.com)

Born right here in West Michigan, Steigenga won the NFL’s Punt, Pass and Kick contest at the age of nine. The 6-foot-7 forward starred at GR South Christian High School, winning the state’s Mr. Basketball award and leading the Sailors to the 1988 Class B State title. Steigenga won the dunk contest at the McDonald’s All-American game later that year. Can you hear Dick Vitale’s voice saying he’s a “true PTPer” and “awesome with a capital A!” when talking about Jud Heatcoate’s incoming recruit. Steigenga was recruited by legendary coach Dean Smith from the University of North Carolina, but ultimately chose the Spartans over the Tarheels. “It came down to the fact that I loved Michigan State, it was truly my first choice, and it meant a lot to me to be close to family, ” Steigenga told Mlive’s Mike Griffith after Smith’s passing in February 2015. “I had to tell Coach Smith, ‘Thank you, I’m going to Michigan State,’ and he couldn’t have been more generous about it.”

In East Lansing, he was the first Spartan in history to record a double-double in his freshman debut when he scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against Furman on November 28, 1988. Steigenga started for Heathcote for the final three years of his career and averaged 10.5 points and 4.3 rebounds while setting the school’s all-time record for blocks with 97 (Drew Naymick surpassed the record in 2008.). In 1990, the Spartans won the Big Ten and even reached the Sweet Sixteen.

Stiegenga soars for a dunk at MSU.

Selected by the Chicago Bulls in the 1992 NBA Draft (2nd Round, 52nd overall), Steigenga spent time in the CBA with the Grand Rapids Hoops, Rochester Renegade and Quad City Thunder before signing with the Bulls late in the 1996-97 season. Steigenga has a 1997 NBA Championship ring for his time with Chicago, although only playing in 2 games. In his 12 minutes on the floor, the forward made his only field goal a memorable one, slamming home an alley-oop against the Toronto Raptors.

He spent more time with the Bulls in 1999, but would also play in the Pan-American games and travel with NBA Ambassador teams to South America that summer and to China the following year.

For the last nine years, he has worked as a basketball analyst for his alma mater, working with Will Tieman and Gus Ganakas, and is a partner of a commercial real estate company in East Lansing.

Steigenga ranked #49 in the summer of 2014 on the SouthChristianSports.com list of the Top 50 Spartans.