clock rings well before those of her Geneva friends, because after all, she has
a 40-minute drive ahead of her. That’s how long it takes Selby to travel to Regina High School in South
Euclid. But the excursion is worth it – $3 a gallon or not.
It is, in their minds, quite early.
Well, Shay Selby can’t even wait for the rooster to crow. Her alarm clock rings well before those of her Geneva friends. After all, she has a 40-minute drive ahead of her.
That’s how long it takes Selby to travel to Regina High School in South Euclid. But the excursion is worth it – $3 a gallon or not. She could never have earned the notoriety and experienced the level of competition for her vast basketball skills in her hometown.
The 5-foot-9 senior, who plays both guard positions, leads the Cleveland area at 25.1 points a game and is among the leaders in assists (8.3), rebounds (8.0) and steals (4.7). She led the Royals to a state championship as a freshman and deep into the postseason the last two years. And, oh yes, she has accepted a full ride to Duke University.
Yeah, that 40-minute drive is worth every second.
“I knew it was going to cost my parents a lot of money and time to send me to Regina (a Catholic school),” Selby says. “But they’ve been so supportive and they left the decision up to me. They said they would make those sacrifices. They weren’t concerned with my grades, but they warned me that Regina was a tougher school academically and they told me that I had to stay focused. I had to perform and not be lazy.”
Mission accomplished. Selby has not only blossomed into the premier player in Northeast Ohio, but is carrying a 3.8 grade point average. On the court, she is among the top 3-point shooters in the area and is equally adept at driving the lane and scoring inside.
Veteran Regina coach Pat Diulus, who transformed the program from an also-ran into a perennial championship contender, first noticed Selby when she played AAU basketball against boys in seventh grade. Though taken aback by her talent, he has been more impressed with her development.
“Shay can attack the basket very well, but she also has great range,” Diulus says. “She’s a strong mid-range shooter and 3-point shooter. I think she knows that her good outside game opens up the inside game for her. But she was pretty accomplished even back (in seventh grade). She’s always had great skills.”
Selby played AAU basketball against boys, often older than her, from fourth to ninth grade. The strength and quickness of the competition allowed her to develop her talents at a rapid pace. She performed well enough by fifth grade to be placed on the boys traveling team, which is when she realized her work was paying dividends.
She soon became fascinated with the idea of playing at Regina, which rose to prominence years earlier. But she would never have dreamed of not merely donning a Royals uniform but developing into one of the their all-time greats.
“I kind of believed I could play well if I worked hard and put in the time and training,” she says. “But I didn’t think I could be this big. It’s kind of surprising.”
Not to Diulus, who believes competing against boys for several years hastened Selby’s development.
“I think she got tough doing that,” he says. “And she’s gotten a lot stronger since then. She grew and got more filled out. She gets a lot of attention and junk defenses thrown at her, but she’s strong enough to post people up and score off post-ups. And she’s strong enough to score inside.
“But it’s the mental part of the game that she’s always been pretty sharp with. She’s such a good student and I’ve always been a believer that there’s a great correlation between performance in the classroom and on the court. Shay has a feel for the game that great athletes tend to have.”
Diulus is particularly impressed with the leadership role Selby has assumed as a senior.
“The point guard has to be an extension of the coach,” he says. “We only have three seniors this year, so leadership is important and I think she understands that leadership responsibility. I think she can recite in her sleep the words from me that if you’re going to be the best player, you have to be the best player on every play. That places great demands on her, but she has responded.”
Much will change when she arrives at Duke, where her teammates will all have been the best players on their respective high school teams. And although Selby has dreamed of playing in the WNBA, she is also eyeing a career in medicine.
Lofty goals indeed.
For now, however, her motivation is to lead the Royals to a state title, which she experienced as a freshman.
“I don’t want to win one just for myself because I already have one,” she says. “I want to win one for my younger teammates because they don’t have one.”
And wouldn’t winning another state championship make that 40-minute drive feel even more worthwhile?