Home for the holidays: Sherman brings team back to his roots for Clarion Inn Thanksgiving Tip-off

Head coach Jeff Sherman, who grew up in De Beque, watches practice at Brownson Arena Wednesday evening. (I forgot to add the team name please add, thanks) Sherman coaches the **** mens basketball team who traveled to Grand Junction to play in the Mesa State basketball tournament which starts today.


Clarion Inn Thanksgiving Tip-off

Mesa State College (2-0)

Last Season: 16-12

Head coach: Jim Heaps, 14th year (226-135)

Leading scorers: Mike Dominguez, 6-3 senior guard, 19 ppg; Jase Herl, 6-3 senior guard, 16.5 ppg; Michael Bear, 6-7 sophomore post, 14.5 ppg

Scouting report: With six returning seniors and one senior transfer, experience is not an issue. The Mavericks are averaging 87 points a game and giving up 60 after the first weekend. As much as they can score, Mesa State also enjoys sharing the load, with five players in double figures and 40 assists on 58 baskets. It’s a solid defensive team that has made a concerted effort to be a better rebounding team (plus 9.5 margin).

Central Methodist College (5-2)

Last Season: 28-7, NAIA Division I Sweet 16 appearance

Head coach: Jeff Sherman, 25th year (446-351)

Leading scorers: Lucas Dahl, 6-6 junior forward, 14.5 ppg; Matt Sherman, 6-0 senior guard, 12.3 ppg.

Scouting report: If the Eagles handle the altitude change, good luck keeping up with them. Sherman, who grew up in De Beque, prefers an up-tempo offense and pressure defense, and his team is shooting 48 percent from the field, 38 percent from the 3-point line. Opponents are shooting 40 percent from the field, but only 17 percent (7-41) from the 3-point line. Matt Sherman is the coach’s oldest son; his other son, Ryan, is a kick returner and wide receiver on Central Methodist’s football team.

CSU-Pueblo (1-0)

Last Season: 15-14

Head coach: Patrick Eberhart, 4th season (34-49)

Leading scorers: Daniel Pierce, 6-6 junior forward, 19 ppg; Chris Busch, 6-6 senior forward, 12 ppg; Marc Williams, 6-2 senior wing, 11 ppg

Scouting report: The Thunderwolves are once again a defensive-minded team, led by guard Roman Van Allen, who had six of CSU-Pueblo’s 17 steals against UC-San Diego last weekend, a 61-43 victory. Van Allen and Williams are the only two starters back from last season’s team, which reached the RMAC Shootout semifinals with a win over Mesa State.

Metro State College (2-0)

Last Season: 27-4, RMAC champion

Head coach: Brannon Hays, 4th season (76-20)

Leading scorers: Donte Nicholas, 6-5 junior guard, 21 ppg; Brian Minor, 6-3 senior guard, 15 ppg; Reggie Evans, 6-4 sophomore guard, 14.5 ppg.

Scouting report: The Roadrunners are once again loaded in the backcourt and have five players scoring in double figures through the first week of the season. Metro, which scored 82 points in each of its first two games, allowed fewer than 60 in those games and is shooting 56 percent from the field, 46 percent from the 3-point line. Opponents are shooting 35 percent from the field, 26 from beyond the arc.

Jeff Sherman never intended to be away from western Colorado his entire adult life.

He’s been back often, visiting his father, Al, who was his basketball coach at De Beque High School, and family.

And he’s brought his Central Methodist (Mo.) University basketball team to tournaments at Mesa State College a handful of times during his 25-year coaching career. He and Mesa State coach Jim Heaps played against one another in high school, Sherman at De Beque and Heaps at Delta.

“Very few of us know why a lot of things happen anyway,” Sherman said earlier this week as the team drove across three states to play in the Clarion Inn Thanksgiving Tip-off at Brownson Arena. The two former high school opponents will be opposing coaches at 7 tonight when the Eagles play Mesa State in the second game of the day. Metro State and CSU-Pueblo play at 5 p.m.

Sherman, 49, was a two-time all-state basketball player at De Beque, scoring more than 2,000 points in his career. He led the state in scoring his senior year, 1978 (he was the second-leading scorer in ‘77). In his final home game, he scored 60 points, the fourth-highest single-game performance in state history. His 897 points in the 1977-78 season rank third all-time in Colorado.

He played at Central Methodist after two years at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, and after a year as a high school coach, Sherman returned to Central Methodist to go to graduate school and be an assistant coach.

He had just gotten another high school coaching job when the head coaching position at Central Methodist opened up. He was offered the job at his alma mater, with a couple of caveats: He had to get out of the high school position, and he had to promise to stay three years.

“I had just gotten married and my wife and I were figuring out what we were going to do. I promised three years and those three years have developed into 25,” he said.

Fayette, Mo., which is halfway between Kansas City and St. Louis, became home, but it’s always nice for him to come back in Colorado.

This year is special, though.

When he walked into Brownson Arena on Wednesday night for practice, he was with his oldest son, Matt, a senior guard for the Eagles.

“The last thing we were talking about was him playing for me,” Sherman said of his son’s senior year in high school. “Mesa was one of his choices and he was getting ready to come out and visit. He liked Colorado. It was getting close to graduation and I was worried. I went to one of his buddies and asked, ‘What’s Matt telling you? I can’t get anything out of him.’ He said, ‘Mr. Sherman, he wants to play for you. He’s waiting for you to ask him to play.’

“That threw me for a loop. I didn’t want him pressured to be home. I wanted to get away (from home) and he didn’t mind Fayette. It’s a small town and he liked the college and our program. He did want a chance to play for me and make it where his mom doesn’t have to travel to watch him play.”

It was an easy recruiting trip.

“I asked him at the dinner table, kind of nonchalant, ‘Let me throw this at you. If you ever wanted to be close to home, I need a shooting guard.’ Three days later he signed at the high school.”

Matt Sherman, who also wants to be a coach, owns the all-time 3-point record at Central Methodist and should finish in the top seven or eight in scoring by the time he graduates.

Jeff Sherman’s youngest son, Ryan, plays football and runs track for the Eagles, and Sherman’s wife, Julee, is the vice president of finance and administration at the college, so Fayette has definitely become home.

The Sherman family and several friends will be in the crowd this weekend to watch the Eagles, who reached the NAIA Division I Sweet 16 last season.

They’ll also be celebrating Jeff Sherman’s latest accomplishment.

He was inducted into the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame last month, an honor that had him taken aback.

“That was quite the surprise,” he said. “What an honor.

“I got a letter this summer that I had been nominated and unanimously accepted. Getting to do all that last month, it was the highlight of my career. It kind of allows you to look back through the years and lets you see what you are doing has some validity.”

Sherman is 446-351 at Central Methodist.

“I haven’t worked a day in my life,” he said. “I get to wake up every day and do basketball. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do and I’m able to do it. I feel guilty in some ways because I’ve never thought I had to work.”


Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Search More Jobs

734 S. Seventh St.
Grand Junction, CO 81501
970-242-5050; M-F 8:00 - 5:00
Subscribe to print edition
eTear Sheets/ePayments

© 2017 Grand Junction Media, Inc.
By using this site you agree to the Visitor Agreement and the Privacy Policy