SHERIDAN — Sean Sutherlin had one heck of a good six-day stretch. March 7, saw the Sheridan College sophomore hit the go-ahead shot with less than a minute to play in a 74-72, come-from-behind, season-saving win over Northeastern Junior College.
“It was one of the biggest plays in my career,” Sutherlin said.
Monday morning, Sutherlin and his teammates were selected as one of the eight at-large teams to participate in the national tournament. Tuesday, the Mounds View, Minnesota, native, was honored as a member of the Region IX All-Tournament team. And Wednesday, Sutherlin received his first Division I offer from the University of New Hampshire.
Not a bad week at all, and the recent course of events are just one significant chapter in the story that is Sean Sutherlin.
During Sheridan’s game-day shoot-arounds, Sutherlin practices alongside fellow guards Josh Bagley, Jay Lewis and Elijah Blake. However, unlike those three, Sutherlin rarely ventures outside the 3-point line.
He sticks to working on dribble-drive moves and crafty ways to maneuver the ball around the rim.
Sutherlin is not a shooter, plain and simple. Even though his size might make someone believe he can fire away from anywhere on the floor, he doesn’t. In fact, Sutherlin has only attempted three 3s this season, all three coming in a bludgeoning of Little Big Horn College.
But it wasn’t always this way for Sutherlin. The Irondale High School product used to hoist 3s and mid-range shots back in his time as a Knight.
“In high school, I was more of a scorer,” Sutherlin said. “I could shoot the 3, and I could get to the hoop.”
But upon coming to Sheridan, Sutherlin’s role changed. His ability to slash and absorb contact made him the perfect compliment to a shooting guard like Adham Eleeda, who primary resides in 3-point land.
“Coach just wants me to attack the rim and get easy buckets,” Sutherlin said. “I feel like I can get to the hoop whenever I really want to, and if I can’t get all the way to the hoop, I can facilitate to my teammates, either finding our wings or finding our bigs.”
Sutherlin’s quick 6-foot-4 frame also makes him a versatile defender.
He can use his fleet-footedness to slow down smaller guards and his sturdy 190-pound foundation allows him to body up, defend and rebound against much larger post players.
“Being a defense where we like to switch a lot, it’s always nice having a guy out there that can go out and guard multiple spots,” Hammer said.
Sutherlin’s defense is solid, and he can rebound extremely well for his size. He knows where his offensive prowesses lie and doesn’t stray from them. He does all of this without saying much at all.
Sutherlin won’t chirp at foes during a game. He rarely pulls out a fist pump or yells in excitement. He simply comes to work, does his job, and not much else needs to be said.
“He’s kind of got that silent-warrior-type mentality to him,” Hammer said. “He’s not the most vocal kid, but he just goes out there and competes. And just because he’s not vocal, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t mean a lot to him. He’s just kind of that quiet warrior out there that wants to go out there do his job and do it well.”
If Sutherlin keeps up his recent play, the Generals will stand with a good shot at advancing in the national tournament, and the sophomore will have another week worth remembering.