Shipman Caps Season With Championship

Rayford Shipman cashed in his chips and won a state title last weekend. The future engineering major now has a little time to reflect on recruiting.

At the beginning of the season, plans were laid for Pace to win the state championship.

Mission accomplished. The plan was executed to perfection as Mark Lieberman's club finally broke through and got it done after bowing out without a championship their last two tries.

"When we were going into it we thought it was going to be tough," junior small forward Rayford Shipman said. "We didn't play our best games of the year but we gave our best effort and that made a difference in each game."

The 6-foot-4 Shipman, the team's top prospect, scored 20 points as the team rolled over perennial powerhouse Lakeland Kathleen. Then, a day after cutting down the nets, he got down to business.

"The next day I was in the gym," Shipman said. "We got back that Sunday and were working Monday before school.

"I'm trying to make my game an all-around game. I'm working on my jump shot, handle and mid-range shot and all that."

Shipman isn't solely focused on ball. In the classroom, this future engineering major gets it done. Some kids pay lip service to academics, but Shipman's intent on finding a school which excels in his major and on the court.

Shipman says one of the assistant coaches on his team reminds him of Florida's engineering program. However, the wing has also learned Georgia Tech ranks high in the major.

This summer he'll attend elite camps at Kansas State and Florida; he always goes to Florida's camp. He's got offers from Miami, LSU, Georgia Tech and Clemson.

"The most phone calls – that's how I separate who I'm important to. Phone calls and coming to see me means something. Florida has been there. LSU has come for a game. Miami calls, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Kansas State."

Now that the season's over Shipman said he'll have time to dedicate to the selection process. In addition to the academics, Shipman would like to find a program that sees him as an interchangeable part. Pace allows its players to handle multiple positions and Shipman is drawn to schools with that kind of offensive diversity.

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