The stage was set at Mo’s Irish Pub in Milwaukee. Steve Novak and his family were surrounded by their relatives, closest friends, neighbors and Steve’s former teammates. As the night moved along, the anticipation of where Steve might go was the obvious topic of conversation, but no one knew, even Steve. “I really have no idea. The GM’s don’t really say much, so all I can do is wait. I did my best when I worked out for the teams, but when I was done, there wasn’t a lot of feedback. I am guessing just like everyone else." Mike Novak, Steve’s dad and high school coach, said he wasn’t paying much attention to the draft before it started, but every time the announcers spoke about a rumored trade, he would get his draft sheets out and rifle through them analyzing different scenarios.
As the draft moved along, Steve’s immediate family and coach Tom Crean moved into a private room to get away from the noise. Tom Crean was working two cell phones, talking to GM’s and coaches making a final push for Steve. Crean would make calls, and then explain various possibilities to Steve and his parents. “Coach Crean was working the phones doing an unbelievable job. He was calling a lot of people, trying to get information on trades and this and that, he was great.”
As the first round came to a close, you could see the tension building. The family was inching in closer and closer around Steve. And then it seemed to grow very quiet. “Coach had been working the phones for about two minutes and I noticed and was like, ‘what just happened?’ I didn’t say anything because I didn’t know and didn’t know if the Houston Rockets had the next pick or who it was going to be. Then he calmed down and sat back, I looked up at the TV and I was the next pick. I had no idea until I saw it on TV. All I knew was that I had a great workout for them, but nothing else.”
As far as Steve going to Houston, he couldn’t be happier. “It is a great place for me, with guys like Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming you can’t go wrong. Guys like that draw a lot of attention and will spread the floor allowing me to do the things that I have done at Marquette.”
Steve won’t be staying in Milwaukee for long. “Right after I got picked Coach Van Gundy called me and basically told me that I leave for Houston first thing tomorrow morning and that I should be ready to work.”
The work won’t be a problem, Steve has always been one of the hardest workers on the floor and in the weight room and he will take that mentality to Houston. “I have come a very long way but I know I still have a long way to go.”
In the eyes of the people from Marquette University, their fans and the people of Brown Deer, Steve has already made everyone proud and will continue as he makes his way into the NBA.