New Castle News
NEW CASTLE —
Shawn Anderson doesn’t have a crystal ball, but he has a pretty good idea of his future career path.
The New Castle High senior cemented that by committing to play basketball at the United States Naval Academy.
“Really, I was honored. It’s not too many times you hear someone say they’ve been contacted by the Naval Academy. I was excited,” he said. “My parents and I went down on an unofficial visit and they walked me through really what would happen in my life and how things would play out for me. I know I am a good basketball player here, but, at the college level, there are so many good athletes. I am really not focused on the NBA dream. I am focused on what comes after that. Really, the incentive of what job I could get is what drove me to want to go there.”
While Anderson loves basketball, his most important goal is receiving a top-notch education. The U.S. News & World Report ranked the Naval Academy as the No. 1 Public Literal Arts College in the nation.
“Shawn’s sophomore year, he made it clear to me he wanted to go to one of the best academic institutions in the country. So we sent out highlight videos to them and that’s how it all got started,” New Castle coach Ralph Blundo said. “It’s an unbelievable honor for Shawn and a unbelievable honor for our program.
“We’re so honored. It’s a byproduct of Shawn’s leadership, his basketball skills and his total body of work as a young man. The Naval Academy only recruits the top young men in the country. Shawn certainly fits into that category.”
The Midshipmen are coached by Monaca native Ed DeChellis, who is in his second year at the helm after coaching Penn State from 2003-11. DeChellis and his former assistant coach Kurt Kanaskie, who is now a Virginia Tech assistant, both took notice of Anderson last year as he helped guide the Red Hurricane to a 27-1 season that included a WPIAL Class AAA championship.
“They started looking at Shawn last year. We had great year and he did well in AAU also,” Blundo said. “They just really liked him.”
Anderson elected to attend the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, R.I., next academic year and play basketball there for one season before heading to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., for his freshman year in 2014-15.
“We felt he could go straight to the Naval Academy or the prep school. The Naval Academy is such a unique situation, though. Coaches believe their players have had more success when they have gone through the prep school first and get acclimated to Naval Academy life,” Blundo said. “When he finally enters college, he’ll be a year older. Shawn is a young senior. He is just 17. We just think, at the end of the day, that’ll serve him well.”
Anderson agrees that a year of prep school will benefit him.
“I am already a respectful kid. I know what to say; I know how to talk to adults and I know there is a line I have to walk. When we got down there and I started to see the things they do, I didn’t think I was prepared for it. But, I have a little bit of a background,” he said. “I understand that when a man is screaming in my face at 6 a.m., it’s not because he’s mad at me or doesn’t like me, he’s trying to discipline me for what life is going to bring to me.”
If Anderson changes his mind at the prep school, he may be recruited by another school and still retain all his college eligibility should he head elsewhere.
“Shawn is fully committed to the Naval Academy. However, if for some reason, Shawn decided he didn’t want to attend Naval Academy, he could be recruited out of that prep school. At that point, he’d be a year better and a year older.”
So far, Anderson, an excellent student who wants to major in business management or cyber technology, has drawn interest from Brown, an Ivy League member, along with other smaller universities.
“Really, I have set my goals on the Naval Academy and a lot of schools have taken a step back, but I am still open to hearing from coaches,” he said. “It’ll be unbelievable to play at Navy. When I went down, I played with their guys and they have a pretty good team. They are tall and long. It’ll be a new experience.”]