Men's Hoops Profile: Shawn Redhage
Nov. 21, 2002
By Chad Potter, Media Relations Student Assistant
Attracting major conference attention from around the nation provides challenges when you live in a state known for its plethora of football talent more than basketball talent. But Division I schools will find their way to talent one way or another. The skills of a lanky high school player from Nebraska led Arizona State to Shawn Redhage.
Redhage was named Nebraska State Player of the Year his senior season at Lincoln East High School in 1998-1999. Along the way to being named the top player in his state, Redhage re-wrote school record books. He was the second all-time leading scorer in school history along with being the leader in rebounds and blocked shots.
Amidst all of the personal accolades, Redhage never lost sight of the overall team picture.
'I was disappointed with my senior year,' said the unassuming Redhage. 'Being ranked number one, we should have won state. We lost in the first round, which is probably the most disappointing event in my life so far.'
Redhage ended his storied high school career and headed south from the cornfields of Nebraska to the cactus-laden grounds of Arizona. The fit seems like putting a circle peg into a square hole, but ended up fitting like a glove on a hand. Every piece fit in the mind of Redhage.
'I just really liked the situation coming in here. Getting a chance to play right away was a factor and the coaching staff was great. I also felt really comfortable out here for school studying construction management.'
Redhage got his chance to work against the best in the Pac-10 early on, as Coach Evans saw the versatility of this raw freshman. In his first season of Division I basketball Redhage played well, scoring 22 points against Washington, 17 against Texas, and 16 against Virginia. But the first full year of Pac-10 basketball takes it toll.
'Coming into this conference I was a little naï¿½ve to how good this competition was going to be. I got here and played well for a while, and then I had some struggles. That just taught me that you can't let other factors affect how you play. You need to come out ready to play each day. If you do that then you will improve. If you don't then you will fall back into mediocrity.'
Learning from the highs and lows of being a Pac-10 caliber player, Redhage worked hard to get back into form. As his sophomore season rolled around, Redhage played with more consistency. Redhage came off the bench more often last year, but has worked hard to turn that around this season by working hard in the off-season.
'I watched more film, to be smarter about the game. I worked on my shot, so that anytime the team needs me to step in and make a play, I'll be ready. I worked on my overall game and studied other players, other teams to see what they do to be successful. That will help us in the long run.'
Working hard isn't a new concept for the 6-8 forward. Whether on the court or in the classroom, Redhage feels prepared to meet any challenge.
'Work ethic is just one thing I tried to pride myself on. Coming in here, I just told myself that I would outwork any of my opponents. I just want to look back on my career and my life and make sure I did everything possible to be successful. That is how I look at it each day. To make sure I did everything I could to make myself the best player or the best student or just the best person. I don't want to have any regrets.'
The endless work every morning shooting around at 7:40 a.m. doesn't derail Redhage from his schoolwork. Last year as a junior, he was named to the first team Pac-10 All-Academic team for the second year in a row carrying a 3.44 grade point average in construction management, which is now at 3.56. Redhage never lost sight of the ultimate goal on the horizon.
'The biggest thing is time management. You need to be able to go to practice and work hard. Then when its time to go home and study, you need to be able to do that. You need to take your time to make sure all of your priorities are straight, because if your priorities are out of line then you aren't going to get anything done. There is life after basketball, so school is definitely a priority.'
Redhage took the learning experience from the hardwood, to the classroom and finally this summer, to Europe. Redhage traveled with Athletes in Action, a group of 16 other college players from various colleges around the country. The team participated in a 15-day trip playing an assortment of professional teams from Spain. The best game for Redhage came against Frigiliana, where he scored 26 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists in the 83-34 victory.
'We played some different competition and the game is a lot different than it is over here. You learn some new rules and some new tricks to the game. I also played with great foreign players who taught me moves they used. We talked a lot about the game, how they are successful. Anytime you can talk to other great players about how they are successful, then you will become a better player. The experience helped me a lot.'
All of the hard work and different experiences have prepared Redhage and his teammates for what they believe has the makings of a break out season.
'I think it will be a collective unit of seniors to lead this team. We have different personalities, but overall we have some great leaders on this team. I think the seniors as a whole have to step up and show the freshmen and underclassmen how to be successful. We know what it takes, but it's going to take some time to show everyone else. Once we accomplish that, we will be a great team.'
Sharing experiences with a group of men for four years stays with a player for the rest of their lives, especially in building a program.
'We have been through a lot of lows and a lot of highs. We know the whole spectrum of what its like in college sports. Its going to be hard leaving everybody and having each of us go our separate ways. But we have become a tight knit group that has gotten close, so we will stay in contact. It was fun having a lot of freshmen coming in at one time to help build this program and hopefully we can take this program to the next step.'
That next step begins with the preseason, but the real season starts with the Maui Invitational. Teams like Kentucky, Indiana, Utah and Gonzaga will give ASU great competition. A strong performance gives a youthful ASU squad confidence that makes them a dangerous team. Along with that come high expectations.
'It's going to be a great experience for everyone. Going out and playing other teams that from just the Pac-10 and showcasing your talents to other teams across the country is going to be fun. Plus the environment in Hawaii is great. We are going to go out there looking to win the tournament.'
The buzz continues to grow around the campus in Tempe, Arizona and into the Phoenix area about this ASU Men's basketball team. Even media from around the conference are taking notice about the quickly rising program as they voted ASU to finish fourth in its preseason poll. The last time ASU was picked to finish in the upper bracket of the Pac-10, they advanced to the Sweet 16, accumulating a 24-9 record along the way during the 1994-1995 season. But don't tell Redhage to look ahead.
'We are expected to do great things. By taking it one game at a time, we will meet those expectations. We expect to be in the NCAA tournament and go far. If we just play as a team, then we have a chance to make a run at the tournament and take this program to another level.'
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