Our own Steven Adams has become a household name in the USA, and was one of the breakout stars in last year's NBA playoffs.

This season Adams has continued his climb up the NBA ranks and has become one of the game's best young big men, currently putting up 12.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.

While Adams is now a rising star in the NBA, it wasn't all that long ago that he was an unknown commodity in the basketball world.

On an episode of Fox Sports 1's "The Sidelines Podcast," Evan Daniels spoke with Jamie Dixon, Adams' former coach at the University of Pittsburgh about the big Kiwi's rise.


Born in Rotorua and the youngest of 18 siblings, Adams definitely has an interesting background. And it was thanks to Dixon's connections to Adams' family that he was first discovered.

"I knew his brothers, played against his brothers, played with his brothers, down there believe it or not. He had some brothers who were substantially older than him, and that's how I knew about him. And his coach was also a guy I played with, so yeah, it was all about the relationship, knowing him and knowing his brothers.

"His brothers were really talented. They were like Steve, probably more athletic. [They were] 6-11, 6-9 and just didn't really get the guidance [that Steven got] is the best way to put it. His coach Kenny McFadden, his brothers, just made sure that Steve didn't make the same mistake."

Adams joined Dixon at Pittsburgh for the 2012 college basketball season.

"We offered him a scholarship his freshman year and then he committed to us right then and there. I laugh about it because I say, 'We recruited him for five years and we had him for five months."

Did Dixon know right away he had a future NBA player on his hands?

"We knew how good he was. Other people didn't know because he obviously didn't play much in America. Big kids take a little bit longer. He's in the perfect place [now in Oklahoma City]. It's funny, it's such a small world. He ends up getting drafted by Sam Presti, who is a really good friend, and his coach is Scott Brooks, who was a roommate of mine at TCU my freshman year. So it all goes round and round.

"Everybody was kind of shocked he went that early in the draft. But I knew exactly where he was going, what team, because we had a number of conversations."

Dixon then shared a number of other interesting stories on Adams' immersion into the American game.

He didn't arrive stateside until he was halfway through his last year of high school, and it took him a while to adjust.

Dixon shared a hilarious story about how Adams didn't understand the concept of a tournament and how he only packed one day's worth of clothes for a four-day trip.

At the same time, it also shows just how far the giant has come over a short period of time. Adams reportedly didn't start playing basketball until he was 13, roughly just a decade ago.

Flash-forward 10 years, and he's one of the most important players on one of the best teams in the NBA, and he's only getting better.