WINDERMERE, Fla. (BVM) — Before Sean Stewart was born, he was already destined to play basketball.
His father, Michael, had an eight-year NBA career, while his grandfather, Mike, had a prestigious career at Santa Clara, taking home the WCC Player of the Year in 1972, then enjoying an eight-year career overseas.
When Sean himself became a top 10 player in the country and a Duke basketball commit, his success was just a part of the family tradition.
Sean was born in the twilight of his father’s career, so he does not have any memories of him playing, but he still has benefited from having the constant guidance and wisdom of an NBA veteran at his disposal.
“He always gives good advice,” Sean said. “We’re always talking about basketball 24/7. Even my mom. It’s really fun to be around. Everybody loves basketball so much in our household.”
While he did not witness him play, Sean has still been able to see his father’s professionalism and work ethic first-hand, something that Sean has been able to put in his back pocket and implement himself.
“He always says to just always play hard and always work hard,” Sean said. “Whenever I step on the floor, I try to play as hard as I can. He always says that you don’t have to play good, just play hard. But if you play hard, you’ll most likely play good.”
This is one of the traits that made the 6-foot-8, 210–pound power forward from Windermere High School so coveted on the recruiting trail. Before he committed to the Blue Devils in Dec. 2021, Stewart received 15 Power 5 offers.
But for Sean, he grew up a Duke fan. He went to Cameron Indoor Stadium for the first time as a nine-year-old and fell in love with everything that Duke basketball is about. When he received that scholarship, it meant a little bit more and made his decision a little bit easier.
“When I went to that game, just the atmosphere in there, all of the fans and Coach K made it a crazy experience,” Sean said. “I was a Duke fan ever since. When I got the offer, I couldn’t pass it up.”
With Sean’s prestigious ranking and his pledge to arguably the most prestigious basketball program in the country, there comes pressure. But for Stewart, while he appreciates the recognition, he knows that he must keep pushing harder to accomplish everything he desires.
“It’s great that I could go in there and look at the rankings and see myself at the top, but there’s always work to be done,” Sean said. “But to know that I have respect from everybody is really cool. But we just have to keep our head down and keep working.”
If all goes to plan for Stewart, he’ll finish out his high school career with a state championship and some individual accolades before becoming one of the next greats for the college basketball program he grew up rooting for.