Chaminade Shooter Tees It Up

Bob Hogue
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Wednesday - April 27, 2011
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When Shane Hanson graduates from Chaminade University May 9, he will earn his degree in market-ing/public relations cum laude. That’s impressive indeed for the Southern California native, but he also learned things that probably aren’t mentioned on a sheepskin diploma.

Like fighting through adversity and selflessness.

Hanson came to Chaminade in the fall of 2008, a transfer from an NCAA Division I school, UC-Davis. Recruited by basketball coach Matt Mahar as a three-point shooting specialist, Hanson had the reputation as a long-range gunner who could light up the nets from well beyond the three-point stripe.

“I remember my dad having me sit under the backboard (on the ground) when I was about 11 years old, and shooting as many one-handed shots as I could, both right-handed and left-handed. That built up strength in my upper body and got me in the habit of shooting with one hand, unlike some kids who push the ball two-handed,” he recalls.

By the time he reached high school at Temescal Canyon in Lake Elsinore, Calif., Hanson was an all-star in basketball, who tried his hand at many other sports, too.

“I played football, basketball, baseball, tennis, and track and field,” he says.

That willingness to try was a foretelling of things to come in college.

He left Davis after two years because he didn’t see eye-to-eye with his coach, and came to Chaminade to start over. Right away he was a starter, lining up against the likes of eventual national champion North Carolina in the Maui Invitational. “Playing on Maui was incredible,” he says. He actually got to do it three times, because just a few weeks into that first season with the Silverswords, Hanson broke his ankle and was declared out for the season. That gave him an extra year of eligibility, and so he played there twice more, as a junior and senior, including a memorable upset win over Oklahoma.

This conference season, he also helped lead the Silverswords to a share of the PacWest title with his remarkable three-point shooting touch. Sometimes, his long-range bombs were from 25 or 30 feet out. But those amazing flurries didn’t come without a challenge.

“I went 5-for-5 in our first conference game, and then re-injured my ankle,” he says.

While the doctors mulled over whether surgery would be necessary, Hanson decided to tough it out.

“I went 0-for-17 before I broke out of a slump.” He went from No. 1 in the nation in three-point shooting to way down the list, but eventually by season’s end finished at No. 3 in the nation - and earned all-conference honors in the PacWest. His hope is to take that long-range shooting touch and sign a pro basketball contract overseas.

But he had one more athletic mark to leave at Chaminade. It turned out that the men’s golf team was short of players, and despite rarely playing the sport as a youngster, Hanson was game. While some excellent athletes might be embarrassed to try their hand at something new, Hanson knew the importance of filling out the roster and what it meant for his school.

“My goal was to break 100,” he says. And after fighting off what he called “the rust” by joining the golf team after the men’s basketball regionals in mid-March, he met his goal at the PacWest championships in St. George, Utah, in mid-April when he fired a 96 in the second round. “My teammates kept telling me (when he was putting), ‘Just think of it as a three-pointer and it will go in.’ They used that analogy all the time.”

He learned it wasn’t necessarily about winning, but about doing what was best for his school and his team.

That’s a lesson that will serve him long after the honor of receiving his degree.

There’s another plus, too. “Now, that I’m getting better at it, I can go golfing with my grandfather,” he says happily.

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