Middlesex Magic Alum Sharry Strives for National Title
By SportingVermont.com, Thursday, Nov 10, 2011
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - Ryan Sharry wants big things for Middlebury College’s men’s basketball team this season. Ever since the 6-foot-8 forward stepped foot on campus, he has been used to one thing: winning. And each year, Sharry and the Panthers win a little bit more than the last, culminating in the team’s first-ever NCAA Division III Final Four appearance a season ago. But for the All-American Sharry, the best cager in the state you probably haven’t heard about, that isn’t enough. He, and his Middlebury teammates want to win it all.
“It was great to be there last year, but now we definitely want to win. We really want a national championship.”
On the Panthers historic run a year ago, the Braintree, Massachusetts native had a breakout year, as the big man with an inside-out
game caused problems for all Middlebury’s opponents with his game. Sharry put up double-double averages, posting 13.7 points per game along with 10.5 rebounds en route to first-team All-NESCAC honors as well as a second-team All-American selection, the second-ever in school history.
“Ryan is a terrific talent,” Head Coach Jeff Brown said. “What makes him difficult [to play against] is his basketball I.Q. and versatility…he just has the complete offensive package.”
It was Sharry’s smarts on the court that enabled him to become part of the rotation when he arrived as a freshman out of Boston College High School, overshadowed by the likes of Boston University’ Jake O’Brien. In his first year with Middlebury, Sharry played 18 minutes per game in a reserve role, tallying 7.7 points per game and 5.4 rebounds, helping the Panthers, led by its first All-American and NESCAC Player of the Year, Ben Rudin, to a 24-4 record and first conference title. The following year, with key contributors like Rudin, Kyle Dudley, and Aaron Smith gone, Sharry stepped up, nearly doubling his scoring, to lead a relatively young squad to 25 wins, and its first NCAA Tournament victory. Last season? Even better, 28-2 record, NESCAC title, Final Four appearance, just two points shy of reaching the championship game.
Leading in statistics isn’t always enough though. Sharry is well aware of that. He hasn’t forgotten the leadership qualities players like Rudin and Smith provided when he was an underclassman.
“I’m trying to implement the same stuff this year,” he says. But that doesn’t trying to do more with the ball than he has to.
High basketball I.Q. is one way to describe Sharry, another would be efficient. The man makes the most of his opportunities. He led the team in scoring while taking just under ten shots per game. He also shot 75 percent from the line, snared 96 offensive rebounds, and was third on the team in assists. To him, that productivity doesn’t need to be tinkered.
“Nobody here is a superstar, the best shot is an open shot, nobody here needs to force shots, we are all capable.”
Without getting ahead of himself, Sharry is quick to point out the team has to take each game as they come, particularly as the Panthers now have a much bigger target on their backs. But there really is no hiding it. Sharry wants better last year, just as he and Middlebury have every other year.
That only means one thing: National champions.