Monday, March 20, 2000

NCAA Tournament spotlight finds Seton Hall's Shine

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BUFFALO, N.Y. — Ty Shine shone. He lit it up. He came off the bench like a Roman candle, filling the air with his fiery brilliance, filling the basket when Seton Hall needed a spark.

        He had started the NCAA Tournament as a fringe character —the backup point guard on a 10th-seeded team — and now he stood before the cameras, awaiting a postgame interview on CBS. Shine started to cry, overwhelmed by the sweetness of the moment. He had spent the season stewing about his lack of playing time, only to be vindicated on college basketball's biggest stage.

        Maybe it gets better than this, but not much.

        “It's unbelievable right now,” Shine said. “I still don't know what's going on.”

        The condensed version is as follows: Shine, formerly of Cincinnati's Withrow High School, replaced the injured Shaheen Holloway in the eighth minute of Sunday's second-round game against Temple, and willed Seton Hall to its second straight overtime upset. He scored a career-high 26 points, including a decisive 3-point shot with 18 seconds to play, to prod the Pirates to a 67-65 victory over John Chaney's Owls.

Calm and confident
        “What's zero's name?” Oklahoma State assistant coach Sean Sutton asked, referring to Shine's uniform number. “He had a heck of a game.” If Shine shocked the world Sunday afternoon, he was not much of a surprise to himself. He has the confidence of a tightrope walker working without a net, above the lions, while performing crossword puzzles in pen.

        “If you're not confident,” he said, “people are going to step on you.”

        Sunday, Shine had the jump shot to justify his confidence.

        He made seven 3-pointers in 11 attempts against Temple, shattering Chaney's matchup zone.

        When Holloway sprained his left ankle on a driving layup with 12:05 remaining in the first half, Shine came into the game cold. But he became so hot so quickly that he might have been microwaved. Shine made four of his first five 3-point attempts, enabling the Pirates to turn an 11-point deficit into a two-point halftime lead.

        “I was really disappointed at the time (when Holloway was hurt),” said Seton Hall guard Rimas Kaukenas. “I really felt bad for Shaheen. I really felt a little down. At the same time, when I saw Ty come in, he gave us a huge spark. It was like a second wind and we all felt rejuvenated.”

        As modern players are prone to say after memorable splurges, Ty Shine was “feeling it.”

        “The first one was real, real good,” he said. “I had good form and a good arc on the shot. The second one was the same. From there, I knew it was going to be a positive day for me.”

        Shine scored 18 points in 22 minutes against West Virginia last month, but his positive days fall far enough apart that he has lost the starting job he held during the latter part of last season. Before Sunday's salvo, Shine was shooting only 40 percent from the field, and 29.3 percent from 3-point range. He made just two of 10 shots in Seton Hall's tournament opener against Oregon.

        “Early in the year, I was going through a lot,” he said. “It was tough, and it affected my performance. Sometimes, I'd get in the game and try to do too much. But with practice and time, I can show everybody what I can do ... You've got to have a fighter's mentality.”

Proving himself
        Shine spent only one season at Withrow, but he had sufficient time and practice to achieve All-City status. Like Dontonio Wingfield, Shine moved to Cincinnati, from his native Georgia, in order to en hance his academic profile and attain college eligibility. He lived with the family of former Xavier guard Steve Gentry.

        “Relatives on my father's side,” Shine said.

        Conceivably, Shine could be in search of a new home after this season. Though Holloway will exhaust his eligibility this spring, Seton Hall coach Tommy Amaker has recruited one of the nation's top point guards, Andre Barrett, who succeeded Kenny Satterfield at New York's Brother Rice High School.

        “You hear people talk, but you can't get caught up in that,” Shine said. “Today, I proved that I could start for any team in America.”