January 8, 2013
By Kelly McHugh
The last three-plus years have been a journey for K-State men's basketball senior forward Shane Southwell.
Southwell's years at K-State have been years of growth and maturity. The 6-foot-7 senior has seen his share of highs and lows but, as of recently, he's at an all-time high.
Southwell has played a crucial role in helping K-State to its current 10-game winning streak. Despite getting into foul trouble early in K-State's matchup against Oklahoma State and scoring only six points - all in the second half - he closed the Wildcats' non-conference schedule with back-to-back career nights by scoring a career-high 19 points against Tulane and then breaking that with 21 against George Washington on New Years Eve. Last night, in the Wildcats' 65-47 win over TCU Southwell scored 7 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. (For a full recap of last night's Wildcat win in Fort Worth, Texas, click here.)
He's grown up, he's matured, and now, halfway through his senior season, he says he's a completely different person and player than when he first arrived in Manhattan back in 2010.
"When I first got to K-State I was thinking, 'What am I doing here? How did I get here?' But it changed over the years, and I became more mature. I needed Kansas State," Southwell said. "I needed Manhattan. Manhattan has been chance for me to mature and grow as a person."
From the Big Apple to the Little Apple, the New York native has seen his share of success on the court with the Wildcats. Last season, Southwell started in each of K-State's final 26 games and led the team in scoring four times, including a then-career high 19 points against the Kansas Jayhawks.
His junior campaign, Southwell averaged 8.4 points on 45.2-percent shooting to help the Wildcats capture a Big 12 Championship.
Now in his final year as a Wildcat and in his final season of Big 12 competition, Southwell says he is focused more than ever on the season and ready to see what life holds after his time in the Little Apple.
"I think my biggest goal is to win a championship and to be the player that I believe that I can be and be the player that my family thinks I can be," Southwell explained. "I've really enjoyed my time here, but I'm ready to go forward, go full throttle in this year and I'm ready to take on the next stage in my life."
Southwell is a Communications Studies major and has high hopes of becoming a sports broadcaster later in life.
After his performance in the team's remake of "The Fresh Prince of Bell-Air" remake (The Fresh Prince of Manhattan, they called it), it was obvious to all that he bares a striking resemblance to actor Will Smith.
So, he's got the looks for it and, after playing basketball for a Big 12 Championship winning team, he believes he's got the basketball smarts for it too.
"The biggest reason I want to do it is because it works well to my strengths. I know a lot about the game of basketball, I'm really opinionated and I talk a lot," laughed Southwell. "It think it's what works to my strengths, and when you are looking at a career or a job, I think it's best if you look to one that works to your strengths. So that's the reason why I'd love to be a TV analyst."
When Southwell was at Rice High School, he had the opportunity to interview NBA star LeBron James. It was an experience he won't forget and it was when he realized it'd be a career path he wanted to look further into.
"(The interview) was for BET," said Southwell. "My high school was lucky enough to be there because we were the biggest Nike-sponsored school in New York. LeBron was promoting his movie More Than A Game, so being that everyone knew I wanted to be on TV and I was one of the team's best players, they allowed me to interview him for BET.com.
"It was really nerve wrecking because LeBron James is my favorite basketball player. I was real nervous. I was shaking in the beginning, but I got better later in the interview."
Southwell laughed as he reminisced back to his high school days. Though he'd love to be on television, Southwell also said he could see himself coaching down the road and making a difference in kids' lives.
While looking ahead into the future is fun, there's no doubt Southwell is focused on the task at hand. So far this season he is averaging 10.8 points and 5 rebounds per game and has 17 steals to go along with his team-leading 16 blocks, and he's ready to continue helping K-State on its path to success.
"I think my favorite thing about being at K-State has been just building the relationships that I have with my teammates," Southwell said with a smile. "Those guys have become my best friends. So that's the biggest aspect, but I've also enjoyed playing the game I love in front of great crowd and in a big atmosphere."
After last night's win over TCU, K-State will be back in action to take on the Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday, Jan. 11, at 1 p.m., in Allen Field House.