Standing at 6 feet, 2 inches tall, Renaissance High School junior Shannon Wheeler has been dominant this year playing for the varsity basketball team. Wheeler impacts the game whenever she is on the court.
"Shannon is a strong beat to our drum," said center Nia Heaston. "She helps us protect the rim, and is an excellent finisher on the opposite end. She's a huge main component to our team and getting wins would be tough to do without her."
Wheeler can be described as an athletic lockdown defender but is not limited to that as she makes plays on both sides of the ball. This season Wheeler is averaging 9.1 points per game, 7.6 rebounds per game, and 3.4 blocks per game. She has played a huge role in her team's success and cohesiveness.
"She's a big factor on our team," said point guard Kailee Davis. “She cleans up all the bad things we do and she is a huge factor for us winning big games."
In addition to being a key player on her team, she also is a good friend with a strong personality.
"I've known Shannon since sixth grade, and she's always been an amazing friend to me," said NyJaia Smith, who is the team's manager. "Laughs are always shared when we are together."
On Feb. 1, the team played Edison Academy, the No. 1 girls basketball team in Detroit. RHS lost, 54-52, but Wheeler was tough and finished with 16 blocks.
"I was shocked, but I expected it out of her one of these games," said Davis. "She's capable of doing it every game."
Her performance uplifted some of her teammates and brought light to an otherwise dismal loss.
"I felt inspired that day because every time Shannon got a block, I thought to myself that I want to be able to have my game on the same level as her," said Heaston. "Even though we took a hard loss from (Edison), we still won. We played together and played hard and in this game of basketball, that's what you have to do. And at the end of the day, someone has to lose. It just hurts that it was us. But that only sets us up to grow and come back next year harder."
Wheeler work ethic shows how much effort she puts into becoming the best version of herself.
"When Shannon steps on the court, she usually gives it all she's got,” Smith said. "As the team manager, I can honestly say Shannon works hard to improve. Whenever Shannon gets the chance to practice on her mid ranges or floaters, she definitely takes it. Shannon never complains during practices, and she follows through on all drills even if that day is not her day. Shannon's efforts will pay off within the next season if not this season.”