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Pirates' chaplain helps Ty Shine

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Posted: Monday March 20, 2000 11:30 AM


By Grant Wahl, Sports Illustrated

BUFFALO -- In the crowded hallway outside Seton Hall's locker room on Sunday, I ran into Father Frank McNulty, one of the team chaplains, who told me a wonderful story. Earlier that morning, Pirates backup point guard Ty Shine and four of his teammates showed up at the voluntary prayer service held by Father McNulty in the dining room of the Radisson Suites in Buffalo. Together they read the 23rd Psalm, and then Father McNulty told them a story about courage. It was about a college student whose professor writes the topic for the class's next paper on the chalkboard: What is courage? "The kid writes THIS IS, and hands the paper in," McNulty told them. "So the prof calls him that night and says, 'That was a great paper, because you didn't define it, you demonstrated it.' I've seen you guys demonstrate courage all year, but the important thing is to bring it with you out into life."

Father McNulty smiled as he retold the story. "So Ty said to me right after the game, 'That thing on courage helped me!'"

In the Pirates' 67-65 overtime upset of second-seeded Temple, Shine both defined and demonstrated courage, coming off the bench to save Seton Hall after its star, Shaheen Holloway, went out with a severely sprained left ankle just eight minutes into the game. Shine, a sophomore who hadn't started a game all year, scored a career-high 26 points (his previous high was 19) on 9-of-15 shooting and an amazing 7-of-11 from three-point range. As Holloway shouted encouragement from a wheelchair at the end of the bench, his leg propped up in ice, Shine hit the three that gave the Pirates the lead for good at 66-65 with only 18.9 seconds left in OT.

Given that Holloway had almost singlehandedly beaten Oregon on Friday, scoring 27 points and going coast-to-coast for the winning layup, I asked coach Tommy Amaker what he would have said if I had told him beforehand that Holloway would play only eight minutes -- and the Pirates would still beat the Owls, a fashionable Final Four pick. Amaker laughed and said, "I would have asked, 'What have you been smoking?' But that's why this tournament is so special. Anything can happen. It just takes one day, one afternoon, one performance."

One remarkable performance from an understudy who was instantly ready for the national stage. "I was crying before the interview on TV," said Shine, who had gone a miserable 2-for-10 from the field against Oregon. "I just had to pinch myself, because it was impossible to envision me in a situation like that."

Grant Wahl is a Sports Illustrated staff writer. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the writer.

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