Braintree’s Sharry is shining in Luxembourg
Ryan Sharry was determined to continue playing basketball after his graduation from Middlebury College in 2012.
So much so that the two-time All-America forward went halfway around the world to achieve his goal.
The 23-year-old Braintree native now makes his home in Luxembourg, where the 6-foot-8 Sharry is the leading scorer and rebounder for T71 Dudelange, which at 14-1 is pacing the country’s Total League.
His stellar play this season is a continuation of what was a smashing debut overseas for the Boston College High graduate. A year ago, Sharry powered T71 to the league championship and then swept the Eurobasket.com awards, earning Player of the Year, Forward of the Year, and Import Player of the Year honors.
“Going into college I would never have thought this would be possible,” said Sharry. “To get to play basketball and be paid for it is kind of surreal.”
Sharry was unrecruited out of BC High, but blossomed into a premier power forward at Middlebury, where he was named a D3Hoops.com first team All American, and was Player of the Year in the New England Small College Athletic Conference when he led the league in scoring (18.8 points) as a senior.
With T71, playing a team-high 33 minutes per game, Sharry is averaging 17.6 points and 12.3 rebounds per game while shooting 61 percent from the field.
“He’s a very smart player,” said T71 coach Tim Collins . “Any time we put in a new play he picks it right up. There are some really good big guys in this league, but in my opinion, he’s the best all-around.”
Each team in the league is allowed to have two American players on the roster. T71’s other US-born player is guard Denell Stephens (17.1 points per game), a New York native from Brooklyn who starred at Slippery Rock University. While some players do not receive a salary, American players are paid, which places more pressure on them to perform.
“There is always pressure to do well,” said Sharry.
“I can’t even count how many Americans have been sent home this year because their team wasn’t satisfied. Luxembourg is a small country and we’re not playing at the highest level, but it can be cut-throat over here.”
Sharry said that the semipro nature of the league makes for an interesting dynamic during practices and games.
“Half the guys on our team aren’t getting paid but are really good players just playing for the love of the game,” he said.
“Our point guard is a banker, and we have guys who teach school during the day. It makes for a long day for them.”
Defensively, Sharry plays a traditional center position. But on offense, because of his ability to stretch the floor with his perimeter shooting, he fills the role of a small forward. He has drained 45-percent (19 of 42) of his 3-point attempts.
He also continues to work on his game down low.
“We’re working real hard on his back-to-the-basket game and he’s increased his ability there quite a bit,” said Collins. “He shoots a really nice fade 8 or 9 feet from the basket, which is hard to defend.”
Collins said that Sharry has become a fan favorite, not only because of his offensive prowess, but due to his easygoing nature on the court and his trademark two-handed dunks.
“I’m one of the tallest guys in the league, and the fans love to see the dunks,” said Sharry. “I try to do my best on that.”
Here and there
Fairhaven High grad Kara Charette is putting together a terrific sophomore season on the court at Franklin Pierce University. Leading the Northeast-10 Conference in scoring (19.4 points per game), and second in field goal percentage (57.1 percent) the 6-foot forward poured in a career-high 28 points in a 90-77 win over New York Institute of Technology on Jan. 5. She was 8 of 14 from the floor while converting 12 of her 15 free throw attempts. She earned NE-10 Player of the Week honors after her 28-point effort. . . . Before he made his mark at Boston College, starting as a true freshman, and serving as team captain as a senior, Milton’s Tim Bulman was a force on the gridiron at Boston College High School. As the Globe’s Division 1 Player of the Year in 2000, he racked up 17 sacks in BC High’s march to the Division 1 Super Bowl. Bulman, along with former hockey standout Matt Greene (Plymouth) were recently inducted into the Boston College High School Hall of Fame. After starring at the Heights, he went on to play seven seasons in the NFL, including six with the Houston Texans.
Greene shared Catholic Conference MVP honors as a senior, was a four-time Catholic Conference all-star, and was twice named to the Globe’s Super Team. He was also a member of the Boston Jr. Bruins when they captured the 2004 USA Hockey Youth Tier I national championship.
At BC, he was named the Hockey East’s Best Defensive Forward in 2008, the same year that the Eagles won the national championship. And he played a major role in BC’s three appearances in the Frozen Four. . . . Freshman goalie Lan Crofton of Milton is having an impact season for the Bowdoin women’s hockey team. Croften made 22 saves in a 4-1 win over Manhattanville earlier this month. In six games, Crofton owns a 5-1 record with a 2.18 goals against average. Crofton, who graduated from Worcester Academy in 2013, led Fontbonne to the Division 2 state finals in 2010 and 2011. She alternates in goal for Bowdoin (6-5, 2-2 NESCAC) with sophomore Beth Findley of Hingham.John R. Johnson can be reached at email@example.com.