When recent Versailles High School graduate Jeremy Shardo headed to Walsh University in North Canton on a basketball-recruiting trip, he was greeted with open arms.
“All the players were at the coach’s house to meet me,” Shardo said. “It was like a family up there,”
With that, Shardo’s decision was made and he is set to play next winter in Stark County .
He may not be alone.
Shardo’s older brother Joe, who helped the Tigers advance to the 2004 Division III state title game, is contemplating a move of his own. The elder Shardo spent last season at NCAA Division II Rolla University in Missouri, but hopes to get closer to home.
There is a chance he could be joining little brother at Walsh.
The elder Shardo averaged 9.4 points and 3.6 rebounds a game last year in helping the Miners finish 7-20 overall. The 6-5 guard/forward spent the first season of his college basketball career at Edison State Community College where he led the team in scoring (16.2 points) and rebounding (7.9 rebounds) and was second in assists (3.1). Shardo originally committed to Wright State before a knee injury ended his junior season.
Jeremy Shardo averaged 19.5 points per game last season en route to earning first team D-III All-Ohio honors and the Southwest District Player of the Year award. The 6-3 guard/forward scored 31 points in a 61-55 loss to eventual state champion North College Hill in the district finals.
As he moves from the high school ranks to college, Jeremy Shardo will discover the difference in the two games, something he has already gotten a taste of this summer.
“I was (at Walsh) this week and it opened my eyes with the quality of players,” Shardo said. “The drills and intensity is much higher. I played a couple of summer league games and learned real quick that they aren’t going to call the body checks. I need to get stronger and certainly work on my outside game if I am going to play the two guard.”
Coming from Versailles where the Shardo name is synonymous with basketball, attending tradition-rich Walsh is the next step. It doesn’t hurt that many of Ohio’s top talent plays summer ball at Walsh, including Ohio State recruit Kostas Koufus, who Shardo has played with this summer. Also, two of Shardo’s new teammates are Lebron James’ former mates from Akron St. Vincent St. Mary – Brandon Weems and Cory Jones.
“I hung out with Brandon and Cory when I was up there and I look forward to playing with them,” Shardo said. “We also have a seven footer from Brazil who will be a senior.”
Walsh finished last season 28-6 and was the American Mideast Conference South Division and Tournament champion. Walsh also qualified for the NAIA National Tournament and was ranked No. 7 in the final NAIA Division II poll.
A three-year varsity starter, Shardo’s high school career witnessed some tremendous coaching turnover with four coaching changes in four years. The positive was his last coach, Scott McEldowney, was his first coach at the high school level.
Despite the turnover, Shardo and his Tiger teams created some tremendous memories. In addition to finishing state runner-up as a freshman (Joe’s junior year), Versailles was regional runner-up Shardo’s junior year.
As a sophomore, Shardo shared the court with his older brother. It wasn’t always easy.
“Joe and I didn’t always play great together in high school, because we both want the ball,” Shardo said. “But the one thing I learned from him was how to pass.”
Shardo’s final game might have been his best. Facing off against North College Hill, he nearly single handedly ended the Trojans reign as state champion with his 31 points.
“Coach told me if I got tired I had to call time out,” Shardo said. “I knew then I wasn’t coming out.”
That type of mentality should help Shardo excel at the next level where he expects more scoring outbursts. And assists.