Shehady comes on strong for Hampton hoops, earns scholarship
The Hampton basketball squad made great memories this year with an excellent finish to its season, including a berth in the WPIAL 5A championship game. It may come as no surprise guard Mark Shehady was playing some of his best basketball yet.
The point guard will take his talents to Concordia (Mich.), an NAIA program, in the fall on a full athletic scholarship after a whirlwind winter and spring that saw one of his only scholarship offers come in the midst of a long playoff run.
“I thought overall it was a pretty great season for us,” Shehady said. “I thought we had a lot of ups and downs, and I was glad we ended on a positive note and were playing our best basketball for the most part.”
Shehady was no exception, scoring 36 points in the final game of his high school career, an 85-81 loss in the state playoffs to section rival Mars.
The scholarship offer is the culmination of a lifelong love for basketball that runs in the family. Shehady's sister, Renee, played basketball at Bethany, and he cites her as a major influence, even though he was only 6 years old when she was a freshman in college.
But perhaps the biggest push to Shehady's game has been his training with Jason Otter. Based out of Saginaw, Mich., Otter is a former Division I and professional basketball player well-known for his Otter Basketball training clinics and instructional DVDs for amateurs and pros.
“He influenced me to pursue the game and play as hard as I possibly can,” said Shehady, who cited Otter's home of Saginaw being less than an hour from his future school as a major convenience but not the only factor in his college decision.
Concordia coach Ricky Yahn runs an up-tempo system similar to the one at Hampton.
“I think (Ricky) is a great guy and runs his program very well,” he said. “I see myself fitting into the system here, I think they liked my range and ball- handling. They are real up-tempo just like Hampton, run a lot of ball screens and I think that gives you more time to read the defense. I think that just suits my game.”
A lot has been suiting Shehady's game lately. He was selected to play in the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Showcase in April and won the 3-point contest, in addition to finishing second in MVP voting in a wild game that saw PBC beat Ozanam 159-158. His final line for the game: 24 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds and six steals.
In fact, that line is representative of his production in his last two playoff games, against Mars and the WPIAL championship game against Moon. He averaged a double-double against good competition.
With a basketball workout regimen that Shehady adheres to three to four hours each day, the point guard hopes his most recent performances are indicative of what lay ahead.
Devon Moore is a freelance writer.