BC basketball brothers hit national three-point shooting list

May 27, 1999

Brothers who grow up playing together often take each other for granted. But anyone who knows Dave Sheldon, Apopka, Fla., and his brother, Chris Sheldon, Bucyrus, thinks differently of these two brothers. It was common to find them playing one-on-one on the Bluffton College basketball court 3-4 hours a day; the competitive spirit often more visible than the brotherly affection.

This spring the Sheldon name appeared on a NCAA basketball list of top performing brother athletes. Sports officials at Wofford College took on the formidable task of assembling statistics on the NCAA basketball-playing brothers with the most combined three-point shots since three-pointers were added to college basketball in 1986-87. To make the list, brothers must have a minimum of 200 combined three-pointers. Dave, a 1998 Bluffton College business administration and sport management graduate, and Chris, a sophomore mathematics major, made the nationwide list at 23rd.

Dave, the senior ticket sales representative for the Orlando Magic, holds the BC career records for most three-point shots made, 234; and most three-point shots attempted, 558. Only 9 other individual players on the national list bettered Dave's total. Chris so far has 22 shots made.

It's hard to know whether their competitiveness or their genuine love for each other is the stronger motivation that drives their game. "Dave always pushed me to do my best," Chris said. "I wanted to come to BC because I wanted to play on the same court with my brother. He was my teammate, my mentor, my best friend."

The feeling was mutual, even though Dave and Chris played together only one year at BC. "It was really wonderful to play with Chris, but I was always a lot harder on him than on anyone else on the team," Dave said of the year he was senior co-captain and his brother was a first-year student. "BC was a phenomenal place for us," Dave said.

The brothers first played basketball for their dad, Rob Sheldon, who was their high school coach at Bucyrus. The elder Sheldon, who also played basketball for BC and graduated in 1973, often was in the stands when they played at BC. Chris said their chance to play together never came often in high school because as a freshman he didn't play much varsity the year his brother was a senior.

"If there's one great thing I've got to do so far, it was the opportunity to play basketball with my brother," Chris said. "People might think that playing in Dave's shadow would not be good, but I was his biggest fan; and he was mine, too. He was a good player, but he's an even better brother."

Guy Neal, BC head basketball coach, said it is rewarding to coach brothers like the Sheldons. "Their success demonstrates these two brothers' love for the game of basketball, and illustrates their competitive drive to excel." Neal said that the brothers have a lot of self-motivation and drive to be good at everything they do, not only athletics. Both also excel academically. "The Sheldons are good ambassadors of what we want players to be on and off the court. As a coach, you're always striving to have more of your players be hardworking and committed. When they challenge each other to improve, it sets a good tone and becomes contagious."

"Dave never settled for anything but the best, and he's always been my role model, my hero," Chris said, acknowledging that Dave always pushed him to do his best also. Currently, Dave is pushing Chris to beat his three-point record. How's Chris doing on that record? "Well, I'm a little behind, but he really came on his junior and senior years, so I still have a chance to beat him."

Dave, who called Chris from Florida before each game this past season, agrees. "He can do it, and I'm going to stay on his case to see that he does."

The Sheldons might be on the NCAA brothers act list for a long time. There are three additional Sheldon brothers.

Lois J. Wetherill, BC Communications Office, 5/27/99