Kevin McShane Again Proves Hard Work Is Its Own Reward
Sept. 12, 2012
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Kevin McShane got on a plane early Wednesday morning to fly overseas and begin a professional basketball career that even the walk-on turned team captain says is "surreal" and "almost like a movie."
McShane, who walked-on the Oregon State men's basketball program in 2008, instantly became a fan favorite due to his work ethic, positive attitude and passion to succeed. He was named a team captain three times, awarded a scholarship his senior season and was part of the Beavers' CBI championship run in 2009 and their first 20-win season in more than two decades in 2012.
He averaged 1.1 points and 1.3 rebounds in his four-year collegiate career but has proven that heart and desire are far more important than stats and highlight dunks.
"I definitely believe that all of the hard work I have put in is the reason where I'm at today," McShane said. "But there's no way I could do this without people who have supported me, whether that's family or friends or people on the staff who have always said `you can do it; just keep working.' It's almost like a movie. You go to high school, don't have a place to go, you walk-on at your dream university, become a captain and get a scholarship. Now I'm going to play pro."
Oregon State coach Craig Robinson has said many times that he has never seen another athlete go from walk-on to three-time team captain, but he still isn't surprised McShane continues to defy the odds by extending his basketball career to the professional level.
"As I've said many times, Kevin is the type of guy that when he puts his mind to accomplishing something, he accomplishes it," Robinson said. "So I'm not surprised at all. I couldn't be more excited about the fact that he is going overseas to play professionally. I think it's going to be a great opportunity for him. I think he is going to absolutely love it. And I'm looking forward to hearing his stories on his blog."
McShane will play for BC Aarhus, a top division team in Denmark, and the work he had to do to even get an opportunity to play professionally should come as no surprise to those who know him well.
"When I decided I wanted to play overseas, I worked with one of our managers, Jake Bertalotto, and got all of the game film from my time at Oregon State," McShane said. "He helped me figure out how to take certain clips off of it. Then I put together my own highlight tape using a program on a computer. I put it on my website, kevinmcshane.net, and anytime anybody asked about me, I sent them there. Or, if I wanted to get in touch with somebody, I sent them there. So I probably sent out 20 to 30 emails to different coaches, agencies, agents, just people I thought could help. And then, last but not least, my cousin Sean McShane had a contact overseas, put me in touch with them and now I'm going to Denmark."
The season begins immediately when McShane gets there and will continue through March, and possibly April, if the team advances to the playoffs. He'll have the comforts of a furnished place to live, a phone and, most important, a salary but knows he will miss his family, friends and one person in particular.
"I will definitely miss my family, my friends and supporting Oregon State women's basketball, especially No. 22 Sage Indendi," he said with a laugh. "But with all the things today like Skype, Facebook, Twitter and email, I can keep in touch with everybody. And then watching the girls' team and also the guys' team, which I definitely want to do, I will try my best with the new Pac-12 Networks. If I have a Comcast account I can watch anywhere online. So I'm going to make sure I have one of those so I can follow the guys and girls this season."
Despite the technology to communicate, McShane is already putting in early requests for Christmas and birthday presents so he can see his loved ones in person midway through the season.
"There is a week off for Christmas at the end of December," the Portland, Ore., native said. "I'd have to pay for the flight myself so hopefully I'll be saving up some money and I'll get some Christmas presents and birthday presents so I can come home and see everyone."
The only other negative, if you want to call it that, is that he won't be able to wear his signature No. 0 jersey number. But, McShane being McShane, found a creative way to select his new number.
"All of the teams I talked to said No. 0 wasn't available because in their league zeros aren't allowed on the jerseys," he said. "My number will be 12, not because my brother Angus (Brandt) wears 12, but because I called one of my grandparents, my grandma who I call `mom', and I said `mom, what number should I wear; I can pick between 3 and 15.' She picked 12 and I said '12 it is.' "
McShane worked just as hard off the court as he did on it by participating in the Beavers Without Borders trip to Macedonia and serving as President of Oregon State University Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and co-chair for the Pac-12 at the NCAA SAAC in 2011-12.
So what does he hope to achieve as he begins the next chapter in his life?
"I've had a bunch of thoughts about it and one thing I've gathered from talking to Coach Robinson and other people is that if you go play overseas the first year is always for the experience," McShane said. "You don't go for the money. You don't go for the future. You just go for the experience. And I'm really looking forward to being immersed in the Danish culture and the European culture and just seeing what it's like.
"Maybe after next year, I want to keep playing and I stay in Europe or I go to Australia or come back here. Who knows? Maybe I say `you know what, basketball is fun, but I'm ready to start life after basketball.' I'm just getting ready and excited for the adventure and the whole experience of it."
Be sure to check out the highlight tape McShane produced on his own to showcase his career at Oregon State:
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