Blogs > The Best of Don Seeley's Columns

Former Mercury sports editor Don Seeley passed away in June 2013 from a heart attack. For more than a decade Seeley wrote about local sports. Featured here are his columns that were previously printed in The Mercury.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Pushing his boundaries

Nick Shattuck tried, tried oh so hard, to hide the pain. There was no hobbling up and down the court, no call for any breaks, not even the slightest cringe.
But Shattuck knew, his teammates knew, and head coach Kevin Small knew he just wasn’t anywhere near 100 percent.
And 50 percent may have been pushing it.
The Ursinus senior, who set the tone for the Bears’ offense all season - setting school and Centennial Conference scoring records along the way - was almost a non-factor in Friday night’s NCAA Division III Final Four semifinal against Amherst.
But only a non-factor on the stat sheet.
That’s where Shattuck simply could not hide the fact he wasn’t himself. The numbers - 3 of 16 from the field for only 10 points, only three rebounds and seven, count em’, seven turnovers - were very uncharacteristic Shattuck numbers.
The 6-foot-5 guard went into the postseason with a badly bruised heal. Before he recovered from that painful injury, he turned an ankle. Then, just as that was beginning to feel better, he turned the other ankle.
Rest and rehabilitation couldn’t get him back to 100 percent. Neither could workouts in the pool.
And stepping into the national spotlight on two bad wheels?
“I thought I was OK with the one bad ankle, but after (hurting the other) last week, it’s been pretty tough,” Shattuck said following Friday’s 84-58 loss to Amherst. “I wasn’t able to work out with the team that much either, so I was feeling a little winded in the beginning of the game.”
A 53 percent shooter from the field this season, Shattuck’s versatility was limited. Even though he had three blocks to go with those three rebounds - three below his norm - his explosiveness on the offensive end just wasn’t there.
There was simply no first step.
“And a big part of my game is that first step,” Shattuck said. “I beat guys on that first step, so not having it hurt.”
But not once did Shattuck offer an excuse — or even think about sitting down this weekend.
“Not playing never once crossed my mind,” he said. “This is a once in a life opportunity. I wanted to be here, and I wanted to help my teammates. (The injuries) hurt, but I felt I had to be out there.”
Small sure won’t forget the effort.
“I can’t say enough about Nick,” Small said. “His courage, his conviction — the kid played on two severely injured ankles. He’s been the heart and soul of this team.”

Ursinus junior guard Eric Burnett’s uncle, Dr. Carl Burnett, used to have a practice in Roanoke, just a few blocks from the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center, where Burnett and the Bears are staying.
Originally from Delaware County, Dr. Burnett was also once affiliated with Stowe Family Practice.

Ursinus junior guard John Noonan’s uncle, Kevin McClatchy, played the final game of his collegiate career at the Salem Civic Center back in 1985. McClatchy was a member of the Washington & Lee College team, which is north of here, off I-81.
McClatchy, who became an actor and appeared such soap operas as Another World, Guiding Light and General Hospital as well as the television series NCIS, now resides in Ohio. He drove here Friday to watch Noonan and the Bears take on Amherst.

Ursinus may have had the largest following of anyone for Friday’s semifinals. A bus of students and fans arrived here a few hours before the 5 p.m. tip-off. A line of cars full of students pulled into the Hotel Roanoke shortly before noon.
Among those making the trip south was Boyertown High School graduate Mike Ziemak, a member of Ursinus’ baseball team.
“We were rained out Thursday and our game (today) was pushed back, so a lot of us wanted to get down here to support the (basketball) team,” Ziemak said.
Ziemak had an outstanding career at Boyertown and was a four-year starter in the infield for the American Legion Bears who played in the 2004 World Series in Corvallis, Ore.
Teaming up with Ziemak in a pregame pep rally were Ursinus field hockey standouts Kate Sutherland (Perkiomen Valley), Jen Moore (Phoenixville) and Nikki Thren (Upper Perkiomen) and football starter Shea Wisler (Upper Perkiomen). Also making the trip was Upper Perkiomen senior Dane Kress, who had an outstanding season at defensive end for the Tribe.

Washington, which is located within a mile of the St. Louis Cardinals’ ballpark, has the only starting lineup with players from five different states.
The Bears opened Friday night’s semifinal with Ross Kelley of Portland, Ore.; Tyler Nading of Highlands Ranch, Colo.; Division III Player of the Year Troy Ruths of Sugar Land, Tex.; Aaron Thompson of Elida, Ohio; and Carmeron Smith of Noblesville, Ind.
Amherst’s starting lineup features two players from California and one each from New York, Michigan and New Jersey.
Hope has four players from its home state of Michigan, while the fifth is from Burr Ridge, Ill.

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