Last year, after a season full of emotions and a run at the Washington 4A Championship, it wasn't hard for Sean Mallon to decide where his future would lead him. After being around some of the coaches, along with the fact that it's close to home, the #1 power forward in the west chose Gonzaga University as the school he will attend come 2002.
While talking with Sean, it was clear to me that he hasn't let all the extra attention get to him. He is quick to respond that his role models include his parents and Coach Wayne Gilman who passed away last year from cancer. He adds that playing for Gilman was very special, and among other things, the biggest thing he taught Sean was how to conduct himself on and off the court.
After a season played under a microscope, and a heart-breaking loss to Lincoln for the State Championship, Sean was understandably upset for a few weeks, but then realized that the team had a good season. I think that is fair to say considering that last year Ferris gave spectators all over the area a season that most will never forget, including a timer's error at Mt. Spokane High School that made front page headlines.
Sean had a busy summer attending among many other things Nike Camp and the USA Basketball Festival in Colorado Springs. He says that his experiences were all very good, and that the USA Development Center had the most impact on him where he saw many great players and realized just how much hard work it takes to excel.
Last year one of the hardest things for Mallon to deal with on the court was being double, and sometimes even triple teamed. He welcomes the challenge, though, and knows it is only forcing him to improve. He knows however that everyone has their flaws and some things he must work on before moving on to the college level are his defense, being more consistent and getting stronger.
Next season at Ferris, not much will change, and Mallon believes that with many returning seniors they will play comfortably and handle the extra attention that he believes brought the team closer together last year.
To those who say he signed too early, Mallon says they are entitled to their own opinion. He has wanted to play for the hometown team and help continue a winning tradition, so why wait to sign? He would like to leave a winning mark on Gonzaga and would like to be remembered as a hard worker. He believes Gonzaga will do well this year, and that a possible Final 4 appearance in the future is realistic. It's obvious that Sean has the Gonzaga basketball attitude and we can expect great things in his future.