By Chris Chaney
Overcoming obstacles is part of what shapes the type of people we become, but overcoming mononucleosis during your senior basketball season and still drawing interest from college coaches is exceptional.
That’s precisely what Williamsburg senior Tanner Supe did this past season and he realized a lifelong goal of playing college basketball last week as he signed his National Letter of Intent to continue his athletic and academic career at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio.
“One of (Shawnee’s) scouts came up to me after a game and told me I could do well there and that I should come out and see them,” Tanner Supe said about making his decision to attend Shawnee State. “After I looked them up, I saw that they offered everything I wanted for my major there and it’s affordable.”
The road to receiving that recruiting visit wasn’t an easy one for Supe or his family. Playing the first two-thirds of the season unknowingly with mononucleosis, Supe had to overcome the symptoms of a debilitating illness that often is associated with weakness and fatigue, not something that is ideal for a 6-foot-6 center who is expected to be banging bodies down low.
“For almost the entire season, I had mono and I didn’t know it until the end of the year,” Supe said. “I had a sore throat all the time and didn’t think it was a big deal. We went to see the doctor about it and got my blood tested. After the results came back, they said I had mono and I’d had it for two months, so for the whole season I had mono.”
Despite having the illness for nearly the entire year, Supe only missed five games and because he was on the back end of the sickness, he was able to finish out the season with his teammates.
Supe averaged just over four points a game and right around four rebounds for the season, which considering his illness and Williamsburg’s guard-oriented offense, is pretty spectacular.
The Shawnee State Bears, which recently were promoted to a Division I NAIA, have a growing program that Tanner is excited to join.
“I’ve been playing AAU with Coach Creamer and the Spirit Warriors,” Tanner said of his preparation for college ball. “As of right now, I have to really get into shape. College ball is a completely different level and I have to prepare myself for that. I have to gain 20 lbs. of muscle by the time the season starts, but my plan play next year and get more playing time.
“Coach Hamilton is a great guy and every time I would go up to Shawnee State, he made time to talk to my family and I. He has a really good program there.”
Coach Hamilton and his staff have high hopes for Tanner. He confided that Tanner can leave his mark on the Shawnee program so long as he applies himself everyday in the gym as well as work hard in the weight room.
As for Tanner’s family, they couldn’t be more excited about seeing their son overcome the difficulties he’s faced and achieve his goal of playing college hoops.
“We’re really excited that Tanner’s going to get this enormous opportunity,” Mia Supe, Tanner’s mother, said. “It’s a privilege for any kid to go on and play college sports of any kind, let alone basketball. We’re really looking forward to the experience and watching some good games.”
The Bears will play their games all over the Midwest and into some southern states, but the schedule will allow for his family to make it out to quite a few games, including a matchup with a local Clermont County school.
“We want to get to as many (games) as possible, especially because (Shawnee) is in the Mid-South Conference, a lot of the games are not that far away, including a game against UC-Clermont here in Batavia. So, we’re looking forward to going to a lot of games, but of course, not all of them.”
Tanner plans to study Computer Technology Engineering, Gaming and Simulation while he is at Shawnee State.
Given the obstacles he has overcome already, there is no doubt that Tanner will leave his mark on the Bears’ basketball program and leave the school with a degree in his hand.