Originally created 02/08/02

Musketeers still have Shine



His eyes got big when in he walked into the Richmond Academy gym and saw his teammates practicing without him.

Darrin Shine looked to his coach. His face lit up in a sheepish smile, and his shoulders shrugged.

He forgot Monday's practice had been moved up an hour, and he waltzed in about 50 minutes late. The suicide sprints would come later - punishment for his forgetfulness.

For Shine, it was an aberration. When he's around the basketball court, Musketeers coach Steve Nobles said, he can usually do no wrong.

"He does everything for us," Nobles said. "He's our leading scorer, our leading rebounder, and he leads us in assists and steals. Everybody knows he's the leader of our team. They know that because of how hard he plays and practices. He lays it on the line every time."

It hasn't translated into wins for Richmond Academy, which has struggled to a 3-19 record, but his work ethic yields gaudy statistics.

Going into tonight's 8:30 home game against Laney, Shine has averaged 24.8 points, 9.6 assists and 3.6 steals per game. But to gauge his impact on the team, check out his rebounding output.

The 5-foot-11 senior point guard pulls down 6.3 a game, tops on the Musketeers squad.

Ultimately, that statistic epitomizes the struggles of Richmond Academy. A point guard who leads the team in rebounds is a point guard who shouldn't expect to win many games.

"That makes it frustrating," said Shine, the lone junior on the 2001 Region 3-AAA championship team. "I thought after last year a lot of teams would be scared of us this year. But they weren't. They didn't care that we won a region championship last year."

What's made life tough on and off the court for Shine this year is the graduation of his brother, Derrick.

With Derrick, who is 13 months older, on the floor, Darrin helped lead the Musketeers to the state tournament. Without him, the team - and Darrin, at times - have fallen on hard times.

"It was tough losing him," Darrin said of Derrick, who attends South Carolina State. "After a game, we would go home and talk about it. Now, I don't have anybody to talk to about it except my mom. It's been hard to adapt."

According to Cross Creek coach Tracey Gamble, though, Shine has been outstanding anyway.

"This year has been tough for him," said Gamble, whose Razorbacks were torched by Shine for 28 points in an 83-77 loss to Richmond Academy on Tuesday. "Last year, he played with a group of experienced guys. He doesn't have that now, but that allows his talent to show. He keeps those guys going. He means a lot to that team."

But you don't have to tell that to Nobles, whose prodigy probably will play at a junior college next season.

"He doesn't want special attention," he said. "He doesn't care about his stats. He does what it takes to help this team win."

Reach Josh Katzowitz at (706) 823-3216.