If adversity builds mental toughness, this year’s Danville boys’ basketball team should be among the state’s strongest cerebrally.
While serious injuries are fairly uncommon in high school hoops, that hasn’t been Danville’s case. In this year’s senior class, three players have torn an ACL, two of which had it happen twice.
“I haven’t heard of anything like it,” Danville coach Brian Barber said. “To have three in one class and have two do it two times? That’s a rare thing.”
Though their trials and tribulations, D.J. Shipley, Brock Stevens and Shawn Weir have helped inspire and lead a Danville squad that’s exceeded all expectations this season.
“They’ve done a good job working through it and have been a good example for everybody,” Barber said. “All three have been great teammates and have contributed in a big way.”
Shipley was the first of the trio to go down. After he blew out his knee during his freshman year, Shipley battled back to get on the court. After getting clearance and returning his sophomore season, he suffered the same injury just a few games in.
“It kind of broke me because I just wanted to play basketball,” said Shipley, a 5-foot-10 guard. “It was frustrating, because the rehab process is so repetitious. It’s boring stuff. It hurt to work hard to get there and then have it happen again.”
Shipley returned last season, but was nowhere near as comfortable as he is today.
“Really only now do I feel like I’m all the way back,” Shipley said. “To get that brace off, because it was always a reminder to me, it felt great.”
Stevens, a 5-foot-8 guard, started for Danville as a sophomore, but ripped up his knee in an AAU game the following summer.