CROZET – From the time he started playing at the YMCA as a 5-year-old until this past season, his senior year at the Miller School in Crozet, Chance Sheffey has seen basketball as his passion.
Friday afternoon, Sheffey capitalized on that passion, signing a full scholarship offer to play basketball for UVA-Wise, an NCAA Division II school in Southwest Virginia.
“I feel like I can put them on the map and really be an important player there and really show what I can do and play basketball and have fun,” said Sheffey, who played two years for MIller after transferring from Robert E. Lee High School following the 2013-14 school year.
Blake Mellinger, who just completed his third season as UVA-Wise’s head coach, began watching Sheffey last summer during the AAU season and visited with him during fall workouts at Miller. At the time, however, UVA-Wise didn’t have an opening for Sheffey, but after the season an unexpected spot opened up and Mellinger said Sheffey was the first player they approached about filling that spot.
“He’s a guy that I think, for us, can play multiple positions,” Mellinger said by phone Friday evening. “We can put the ball in his hands and play him at the point and he can kind of be a guy who can run our offense and facilitate for other people. But he’s also a guy who we can move to the wing and have him more in a scoring role.”
Miller’s coach, Danny Manuel, said Sheffey was a team leader in his two years at the Crozet school, whether that was during early-morning workouts or the final minutes of a tight game.
“He’s a guy that, if he dedicates himself to it over the next four years, he’ll have a chance to play professionally somewhere,” said Manuel.
Sheffey would like that opportunity. His mom, Trina Sheffey, who was seated to the right of her son during the signing said that if he ends up playing overseas some day she will gladly go along as a “momager.”
But the younger Sheffey, who was also flanked by his grandmother Rebecca Johnson Friday afternoon at the signing, said even if professional basketball doesn’t work out, he will be armed with a degree from a good school and be free of student debt because of the scholarship — two things that will make his experience at UVA-Wise worth it.
Mellinger feels that there will be a chance for Sheffey to step right in and contribute next year. His high school coach agreed.
“He’s ready,” said Manuel. “I’m really proud of him.”