Steve Downing

Steve Downing Biography

Steve Downing is an American basketball player who attended George Washington High School. He attended Indiana University from 1970-73 and was selected in the first round of the NBA draft in 1973 as the 17th pick by the Boston Celtics. He played for one year for Boston and is the current athletic director for Marian University in Indianapolis.

  • Name: Steve Downing
  • Position: Center
  • Nationality: USA
  • Age: 73 years old
  • Birthday: September 9, 1950
  • High School: George Washington High School (Indianapolis, Indiana)
  • Height: 6’8″ (203 cm)
  • Weight: 225 lb (102 kg)
  • Seasons: 3 (1970-1973)
  • Jersey: #32
  • NBA Draft: 1973, 1st Round, 17th Overall

Awards and Accolades

  • No. 36 All-Time Scoring at Indiana (1,220)
  • No. 5 All-Time Rebounds at Indiana (889)
  • 2009 Indiana University Athletic Hall of Fame
  • 1995 Indiana High School Basketball Hall of Fame
  • 1974 NBA Championship
  • 1973 Big Ten MVP
  • 1973 NCAA Final Four
  • 1973 All-American
  • 1969 High School State Championship

Steve Downing High School Recruiting Profile


Steve Downing was a player for George Washington High School in Indianapolis. Downing led his team to a 31-0 record and a state championship in 1969. He entered high school at around 5-10 and became a 6-9 junior and was becoming a real challenge for opposing high school teams. He was heavily recruited by Jerry Oliver, then assistant coach and interim head coach for the Hoosiers. For his high school career, he played alongside George McGinnis at Washington and was often overshadowed by George’s performance despite being an excellent player himself.

Steve Downing Seasons with the Hoosiers

1970-1971 Indiana Basketball Season
Lou Watson (5th Season)
17–7 (9–5 Big Ten)
4th Place Big Ten

1971-1972 Indiana Basketball Season
Bob Knight (1st Season)
17–8 (9–5 Big Ten)
🥉 3rd Place Big Ten
NIT First Round
1972-1973 Indiana Basketball Season
Bob Knight (2nd Season)
22-6 (11-3 Big Ten)
🏆 1st Place Big Ten
🏅 NCAA Final Four

Indiana University Career Statistics

(Source: Indiana University Athletics)

1970-71 13 692 30.1 102 202 0.505 16 43 0.372 216 9.4 48 72 3.1 220 9.6
1971-72 25 891 35.6 181 426 0.425 75 136 0.551 377 15.1 79 23 0.9 437 17.5
1972-73 28 986 35.2 246 473 0.520 71 128 0.555 296 10.6 81 11 0.4 563 20.1
Total 76 2569 33.8 529 1101 0.480 162 307 0.528 889 11.7 208 106 1.4 1220 16.1

Steve Downing Indiana University Basketball Career

Source: Getty Images

Steve Downing played for the Hoosiers for three seasons under head coaches Lou Watson (1 season) and Bob Knight (2 seasons). He had an immediate impact on the court for the Hoosiers and posted a respectable 9.6 ppg in his first year for the Hoosiers. He tallied the first triple-double in Hoosier history with 28 points, 17 rebounds and 10 blocks in an 88-79 win over Michigan at the IU Fieldhouse in 1971. Indiana did not make the postseason during this year.

His second year, he had another impressive season for the Hoosiers under then first year head coach Bob Knight. He posted an impressive 47 points and 25 rebounds against Kentucky in the double-overtime victory on December 11, 1971. The Hoosiers ended the season No. 17 in the AP poll and had a first round exit in the NIT.

His senior year, he led the Hoosiers to their first final four under Bob Knight. He averaged his career best 20.1 points per game while adding 10.6 rebounds. The Hoosiers were Big Ten Regular Season Champions and lost to UCLA in the Final Four as they went on to win their 7th straight national title. Indiana did defeat Providence for the third place finish in the tournament. The Hoosiers ended at No. 6 in the coaches and AP polls. He opted to enter the NBA draft after the season concluded and was the sole player drafted from the Hoosiers this year.

Steve Downing’s Career after Indiana

Source: Charles B. Carey

Steve Downing was drafted by the Boston Celtics in the first round, 17th overall pick in the 1973 draft. Downing averaged 2.4 points per game in his rookie season as the Celtics went on to win the NBA Championship in 1974. He played in 24 games in his rookie year and in one playoff game. He only played for the Celtics this year and retired from the NBA after three games in his second year. He was claimed to be too “placid” and small to play center. His teammates claimed he was too calm and did not get mad at anybody or anything.

Downing had a great passion for athletics and found a career on working for athletic departments. After the conclusion of his NBA career, he returned to Bloomington for 22 years where he was the associate director of athletics where he created the Student-Athlete Assistance Program. He then spent 10 years as the senior associate director of athletics at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. He additionally served as the sport administrator for 11 varsity sports managing the day-to-day operations of these programs.

IndianaHQ Shop - Indiana Tshirts, IU Hoosiers Apparel

Afterwards, he returned back to Indiana to become Director of Athletics at Marian University in 2011. He has remained at this position since he was hired and oversaw Marian win the NAIA Football National Championship in 2012.

Steve Downing Videos and Highlights

Photo Credit: Indiana Basketball

Check out the rich history of Indiana Hoosiers basketball!

Every week, we are publishing new articles on former and current Indiana University basketball legends, historical figures, and other IU history. Our goal is to capture the history of the Hoosiers all in one place. Click here to see our current collection of articles on Indiana basketball tradition.

Have a favorite Indiana Hoosier basketball player, coach, or event?

Help grow the Hoosier basketball history books by being a contributor to one of our IU athletics history pages! IndianaHQ is always looking for writers of all ages and experience levels. If you think you have what it takes, drop us an email here or send us a tweet!