Shandon Boone made a splash as soon as he came onto the scene for the Marquette Catholic Explorers during his junior year.
Boone continued his ascension in ‘15-16, surpassing 1,000 points for his career in just two seasons with the Explorers and helping lead them to the Class 2A Pinckneyville Sectional semifinals.
All of his exploits earned him this year’s AdVantage News Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year award. Boone was also the Alton Exchange Club Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year.
“I had a lot of fun playing with the Explorers,” Boone said. “I had good teammates and a good coach (Steve Medford). He’s probably one of the best coaches I’ve played for so far. I had a good relationship with him and all my teammates. They made it a lot of fun.”
Boone became an Explorer prior to the ‘14-15 campaign, after spending the first two years of his prep career at CBC High in St. Louis. A Florissant resident, he definitely savored the change.
“It was one my options freshman year going to Marquette, but I decided to go to CBC because I had a lot of friends there,” Boone said. “But then sophomore year I didn’t get moved up to varsity, so I left and came over to Marquette.”
A 5-foot-8 guard with a fantastic shooting touch, Boone’s game was similar to that of head coach Steve Medford’s during his playing time at Jersey High. It made for a strong bond between coach and player, making Medford a perfect mentor for Boone.
“When I first came in I didn’t know how to play defense at all,” Boone said. “He taught me all the rules to defense, jump to the ball, help side and he improved my whole defensive side of the game. Then on offense he took me through some individual drills and got my ball handling better. He just did a lot of things for me to make me a better basketball player.
“We were a similar size so we had to play the same to be good. You have to be really good on defense, a pest on defense, and sometimes we can’t make it all the way to the basket because of our height, so we have to have a good shot. We would have shooting battles in practice.”
The Explorers pushed powerhouse Breese Central in the Pinckneyville Sectional semifinals on March 1. Unfortunately they came up just short, losing 38-34.
Boone did his best to spur his squad. He scored 7 of his game-high 15 points in the fourth quarter. He netted an acrobatic shot in the lane to cut it to 36-34 with 34 seconds left, but it wasn’t quite enough. Central advanced to take third at the Class 2A state tournament.
Boone was a late-game performer in a 48-45 overtime win over rival Roxana in the Dupo Regional finals on Feb. 26, too. He scored a game-high 16 points, with 13 of them coming in the fourth quarter and overtime.
The tight postseason games won’t soon be forgotten by Boone.
“We had a good season and we knew we played a good team (Central),” Boone said. “Until they got to state we were the only team that played them within 10 points. We gave them the best we had that day; we just couldn’t pull it out.”
Now Boone will take his talents west. He announced he will play college basketball for Avila University, a NAIA Division I college in Kansas City. Avila enjoyed a solid season in ‘15-16, going 20-11.
He’s excited to be continuing his career on the court.
“I had a few other options, including a school up in Iowa, but (Avila) was closer to me and I didn’t really want to take the junior college route,” Boone said. “I feel Avila is a good fit for me.”