• 48°

Two sides of Spears on display

By Bret Strelow

Salisbury Post

DURHAM — Shamari Spears said he needed to return to the Northeast for summer school.

That would explain the shocked look on girlfriend Brittany Gordon’s face when Spears showed up unexpectedly in Wilmington.

Spears proposed to Gordon, a Virginia Tech basketball signee whom he met while attending Blair Academy in New Jersey.

“A lot of people see the monstrous, basketball side to me,” said Spears, a former Salisbury High standout. “I have a soft spot.”

The answer to Spears’ question, of course, was yes.

His fiancee, their daughter and other family members were in Cameron Indoor Stadium for Boston College’s 75-61 loss to Duke on Sunday.

The Eagles were playing their third and final ACC game in Spears’ home state, and he had 12 points and five rebounds against the Blue Devils.

Spears had participated in pickup games at the hallowed gym, but this was his first exposure to the Cameron Crazies.

“It is what it’s cracked up to be,” Spears said. “You hear how they have great fans, and you get to see it first-hand.”

Spears is averaging 8.7 points and 6.2 rebounds as a freshman for Boston College, which dropped from first to third place in the league standings Sunday.

Head coach Al Skinner dismissed shot-blocking center Sean Williams and reserve forward Akida McLain on Jan. 17, and Spears has started each of the last three games.

He has averaged 10.0 points and 5.3 boards during the recent stretch in which Skinner has employed a seven-man rotation.

“I think my effort has to be 100 percent every time I come out to play,” Spears said.

He used an aggressive approach against Duke, and opposing coach Mike Krzyzewski took notice.

Spears made an up-and-under jumper from the free-throw line on Boston College’s first possession. He took five of the Eagles’ seven shots during the opening five minutes but couldn’t get a second one to fall.

Spears added another basket with 13:06 left in the half and made three straight shots during a three-minute span midway through the second half.

Krzyzewski repeatedly praised the effort of Spears, who finished with five field goals on a career-high 14 attempts.

“We didn’t pay that much attention to Spears,” Krzyzewski said, “and he tried to beat us by himself.”

*

Contact Bret Strelow at 704-797-4258 or bstrelow@salisburypost.com.

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