When Steve Sullivan graduated from Georgetown in 1967, he was the school's seventh all-time scorer, second all time rebounder, and the highest NBA draft pick to date in school history. Surprisingly, finishing just under the threshold of the 1,000 point club, he was never named to the Georgetown Hall of Fame, but his efforts are right up there with the best of them.
Sullivan was a 1960's version of Jerome Williams--an agile big forward who could score and rebound. Sullivan, who turned down 42 college offers to attend Georgetown, starred at the former Essex Catholic HS in East Orange NJ. For his freshman season, Sullivan averaged 23 points and 17 rebounds a game, with chart-topping numbers such as 29 points and 26 rebounds in a game with Bullis Prep, and 38 points and 26 rebounds against George Washington.
Hopes were understandably high for Sullivan's arrival with the 1964-65 varsity, but he suffered a severe ankle injury prior to the season opener that limited his effectiveness throughout the year. Though he turned in some fine game, such as a 23 point game against LaSalle, and a 15 point, 15 rebound effort versus American, Sullivan averaged only 7.1 points over 18 games that season.
A healthy Sullivan paid big dividends for the 1965-66 Hoyas. He led the team in scoring as a junior with 16 double figure games, including 30 against Boston College, 27 points and 18 rebounds versus Fordham, and 25 versus Navy. His 9.7 rebound average was the highest by a junior in ten years,
With the graduation losses of Jim Barry, Jim Brown, and Jake Gibbons, coupled with the departure of forward Bob Ward, hopes for the 1966-67 Hoyas fell squarely upon Steve Sullivan's shoulders. Despite the Hoyas' 12-11 record that season, Sullivan turned in one of the strongest scoring and rebounding seasons of the classic era. He scored in double figures in 21 of 23 games, and scored 20 or more points 10 times. He averaged nearly 12 rebounds a game, third highest in a season to date and sixth all time today. Sullivan opened the season with 33 and 17 against American, scored 26 points and
collected 23 rebounds versus Syracuse, and closed out the season with 18 and 16 versus Seton Hall. He is one of only seven Georgetown players ever to lead the team in scoring and rebounding in consecutive seasons.
Sullivan was drafted by the ABA's Pittsburgh Pipers in 1967, but mindful of the new league's instability and the fact that Pittsburgh had just signed Connie Hawkins at power forward, Sullivan waited for the NBA draft that summer. He was selected 14th in the draft by the Detroit Pistons in an overall draft that included Earl Monroe, Pat Riley, Clem Haskins, Walt Frazier, and Phil Jackson, who was selected three picks after Sullivan. Unfortunately for Sullivan, the Pistons had two of the first four picks, and opted to sign first round pick Lloyd (Sonny) Dove instead of Sullivan. Of the top 17
picks in the draft that year, Sullivan was the only one who did not make it to an NBA roster, a victim of the Pistons' overdrafting.
Over his final two seasons, Steve Sullivan averaged 16 points and 11 rebounds a game, which stood as important contributions to the high flying Georgetown teams of the mid-1960's.