Hooked on a feeling: Fort Frye standout to play hoops for Muskies

BEVERLY – Shon Smith should be in excellent basketball shape when he steps on the campus of Muskingum University this upcoming school semester.

The 5-foot-11 sharpshooter from Fort Frye said he’s been “working 60 hours a week helping his grandpa bale hay,” along with doing summer workouts on the hardwood.

“I looked at Marietta College and West Liberty,” Smith said. “But Muskingum is where I’ve decided I want to go. I like Coach (Gene) Ford and the campus a lot.”

Smith is undecided on a major but is leaning towards the study of geology and petroleum engineering. At Fort Frye, he owned a 3.5 GPA.

Muskingum University is an NCAA Division III school in New Concord, about an hour or so from Beverly. The Fighting Muskies compete in the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC), which also includes Marietta College.

“That’s going to be intesting and a lot of fun when we play them (Pioneers) at (Ban Johnson Arena),” Smith said.

Last winter, the Muskingum men’s basketball team, which had no seniors on the roster, struggled on the court, compiling a 1-24 overall record and 0-18 mark in the OAC. The black and magenta’s only triumph during the campaign was a 73-62 win at Franciscan University of Steubenville on Jan. 2.

“They need guards,” Smith said. “And I believe I can help them there.”

One of Smith’s Muskingum teammates could be Tyler Ward, who played his prep basketball at Warren High in nearby Vincent. Last season, the 6-foot Ward was on the Fighting Muskies’ JV squad.

“Tyler was also a big reason why I’m going to Muskingum,” Smith said.

A first-team Division III All-Ohio honoree and third team all-stater in his senior and junior years, respectively, Smith was a big reason for Fort Fyre’s success on the basketball floor during his prep career.

“Shon’s a good, hard worker, who often came in early in the morning before school started for a shootaround,” said Fort Frye boys’ basketball coach Eric Henniger.

“I think Muskingum’s a good fit for him. It’s pretty exciting and I’m happy for him.”

After averaging 18.6 points per game as a junior, Smith improved his PPG to 20, and helped lead the Cadets to a 15-8 overall record and a share of the Pioneer Valley Conference championship.

During one game against state tournament-bound Warren, he torched the nets for a career-high 37 points, including 23 in the fourth quarter.

Smith also scored 35 points in last year’s Ohio Valley Athletic Conference championship game against Magnolia (W.Va.), and once had a 31-point effort against Shenandoah.

“Shon can put up points in a hurry,” Henniger said. “So hopefully he can help Muskingum.”

Smith, who was a four-year starter, finished his Fort Frye hoops career with 1,277 points, including 459 in his senior season.

This past winter, he also averaged 4.3 rebounds per game (rpg), 3.4 assists per game (apg), and had a total of 61 steals in 23 games.

From the charity stripe, Smith was a virtual deadeye, converting 88 of 116 (75.9 percent).

Smith played in the 12th annual Battle Against Cystics Fibrosis (BACF) All-Star basketball classic at Parkersburg South’s Rod Oldham Athletic Center on April 5, and knocked down a three and dished out six assists in his time on the floor.

An all-around athlete, Smith was also a standout golfer at Fort Fyre.

Smith is the son of Steve Smith, stepson of Jessica Smith (Prattville, Ala.), and son of Stephanie Smith (Lowell).