Shaunda Shaw & Shineil Taylor
Brianna Ebony Simpson
“I just loved sports.” That’s how sophomore Shane Henry describes his youth. But his path to success as a Georgia Perimeter College basketball star was strewn with challenges to overcome.
After a stint in youth baseball and a failed attempt at football, Henry concentrated on hoops. He had role models—his mother, Kimberly Gether, had played basketball in high school; a sister, Cassandra Wynter, played rec basketball; stepfather Henry Wynter showed him some basketball skills.
But Henry’s passion for the game didn’t carry him to immediate success. He was relatively short—5 feet 7 inches going into high school.
“I prayed to be 6-8,” he says.
He sat the bench on the eighth- and ninth-grade teams. In his sophomore year, he tried out for the junior varsity team at Newton County High School in Covington. He didn’t make the team.
“I went home and cried,” Henry recalls. “I thought about quitting basketball. Then I just looked around and thought, ‘I want to play ball. I don’t want to just sit around. I’ve come too far to quit now.’”
So, he volunteered to serve as JV manager and late in the season was added to the roster when a player quit.
The following summer he worked with ferocity on his basketball skills. Six days a week, his mother dropped him off at a recreation center, and he was the first one inside when it opened at 8 a.m.
For about three hours, Henry could work alone on the court, until other players showed up for pickup games. He played until 8 p.m., when his mother returned from work and picked him up.
However, he couldn’t attend a mandatory summer basketball camp because his family couldn’t afford the fee. According to the coach’s general rule, that meant he couldn’t make the varsity team.
But other players urged the coach to give him a chance. Soon Henry was the starting center and the only player on the team who could dunk the ball.
He was 6-foot-5-inches tall that season. In his senior year, he was 6-8 and blocking two or three shots every game.
At Georgia Perimeter last season, Henry led the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association in field goal percentage, making 58.6 percent of his shots. That and his rebounding and shot-blocking earned him honorable mention on the All-GCAA team. He was one of five players in the 10-team conference named to the All-Freshman team.
“Shane does a great job bringing leadership to the team,” says GPC head coach Alfred Barney. “He’s a leader on and off the court. He gets the players where they’re supposed to be.”
Henry says his goal is to play professional basketball—anywhere on the planet. What career would he choose if he doesn’t play pro?
“I don’t even answer that question,” he replies with a confident smile.
Read more about Henry’s freshman season and GCAA awards:
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