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Long Island Sports

Taking It To The Next Level

Shannon Duer excelling at NYIT

When you finish your high school career as the leading scorer in the history of the program, you have accomplished a lot as a basketball player. Once the individual accolades lose their luster, however, winning is the only priority. Any great player will agree, as does Shannon Duer of NYIT.

“I’m focusing on making the playoffs,” said the freshman standout performer at NYIT who was just named ECC Rookie of the Week. “That would be awesome,” she added.

Duer has played a crucial role in the Bears’ strong 10-5 start, which has the team just two games behind LIU Post in the ECC. They are in the midst of a five-game winning streak which has the team trending in the right direction come playoff time.

It’s safe to say Duer has made a smooth transition from dominating at the high school level to the collegiate level. She has previously been named Rookie of the Week for Dec. 2 and Player of the Week for Dec. 16. Duer leads the team in rebounding (8.0 rpg), is second on the team in scoring (12.6 ppg) and second in shooting percentage (48.6 percent). If you adjust those numbers for full games, she leads the team in scoring at 19.6.

Duer made herself a name within the basketball circles by achieving the incredible feat of scoring 1,000 points and amassing 1,000 rebounds. She reached the milestone in spectacular fashion by scoring 28 points and grabbing 21 rebounds in a victory over Eastport-South Manor. One would think that a player would take a great deal of pride in etching their name in the school’s record books, but that is not the case with the freshman.

“Not really,” she said in regards to being proud of her high school career. “It was a team effort, and it would not have been possible without my head coach,” she added.

In fact, she feels she had to make improvements upon entering the next level. “I feel like I have definitely improved my jump shot,” she said in regards to her brief tenure at NYIT.

As all great players tend to do, Duer is always working at perfecting her craft. “I can still work on my defense, and improve at sliding my feet,” she added.

Thus far, it’s hard to argue with the results. The Bears program is coming off a very strong 14-4 season last year. They have not missed a beat even though they are relying on such a young group of players. Duer has averaged 24.5 minutes per game. In addition to the presence of Duer, the leading scorer is sophomore Dina Ragab.

The team is averaging an

impressive 77 point per game, signifying a quick style of play. That is one of the facets of the program that interested Duer coming out of high school.

“I liked the speed of the game,” she said. “It is fast-moving.” When it comes to the classroom, Duer is no slouch. In the event that the WNBA is not a viable option, she has a backup plan.

“I would like to be a sports reporter and interview players on the sidelines,” said the communication arts major. There is certainly no shame in pursuing a career that you have been around most of your life.

 It is common for high-volume scorers to prefer high-octane styles of play. Look no further than the NBA, where superstars Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony play for teams that feature an offense that allows them to score at will. They would not choose to play for a mellow half-court offense like the Chicago Bulls employ.

You can say that basketball is part of the Duer family. Both of her sisters were high school athletes at Islip. That certainly played a role in her development.

“Basketball was always number one for me,” she said. “I played volleyball and swimming when I was younger, but I quit to focus on basketball,” she added.

That is common among athletes of today. If it wasn’t difficult enough to perfect one sport, imagine the mental strain of learning two. Factor in the added chance of suffering an injury and parents are simply not willing to risk that. Expecting your child to become the next Bo Jackson is not reasonable.

If she continues to perform on the court, Duer will become very familiar with the player-report interaction. Then again, if she continues to perform at the level she has, there may be no need for a fallback option.

“I’m not sure, but I would like to,” she said in regards to continuing her career after basketball. Considering she is only a freshman, there is plenty of time to let that situation play itself out. For now, Duer will continue to represent the Bears on the court as they pursue a playoff berth in the ultra-competitive ECC. Keep an eye on her as she continues to dazzle on the court.