The Dublin (Ohio) Coffman Shamrocks showed up in all black uniforms trimmed in green. They were fired up to take on the Olentangy (Ohio) Orange Pioneers despite the cold weather outside. The gym was about half full with parents and students awaiting the matchup. Jacy Sheldon, a 5’9” guard, started the game strong by shooting multiple times right off the bat. Her shots were consistent and she passed the ball with ease and precision to her teammates as they rotated around the court. By halftime, the Shamrocks held a commanding 44-3 lead, due in large part to their aggressive man-to-man defense. In the second half, the Pioneers were a little more successful against the Shamrocks, who had switched to a zone defense. Still, the end result was Coffman coming away with an overwhelming 81-25 win, with Jacy scoring 17 points.
Many athletes growing up dream of playing their favorite sport for a Division I school. This dream came true for Jacy Sheldon from Dublin, Ohio. She recently committed to play for Ohio State University after being ranked as the 10th-best guard in the country. Before her game against Oletangy, Jacy spoke with SI Kids. She was sweet, confident, and had a bubbly personality.
Jacy was recruited by multiple schools. In addition to Ohio State, she received offers from West Virginia, Vanderbilt, Michigan, Dayton and a few other Big 10 schools. “The recruiting process started the summer of my sophomore year,” she said. According to Jacy, with so many offers, the most important part of choosing her college that she “wanted it to feel like home. I also wanted to be close to home which is kind of big for me.”
Balancing school, basketball, and recruiting has been hard. But she was able to lean on her family, her teammates, and her coach. “It was a lot of time management which took a little while to get used to,” she said. “School is very important. That comes first and managing it was hard at first. But you get the hang of it.”
Family is very important to Jacy and an important part of her basketball career. Jacy’s dad has been a basketball coach for most of her life. “I kind of grew up in the gym, shooting at his practices,” she said. “When I started to get older, he got involved with travel ball and he actually coached me for a while. He has a lot of influence on me. He always rebounds for me and puts me through drills, but I don’t get tired of it.” Jacy also has a younger sister with Down syndrome with whom she is very close and who has had a profound impact on her life. She was at the game and gave Jacy a big hug before the second half started, which brought a big smile to both their faces. Staying close to her sister certainly influenced the decision to choose OSU since the campus is a quick twenty minute drive from her home.
The staff at OSU were also a big factor in her decision to go there. “I love the coaching staff a lot, each and every one of them brought something to the team that showed it was really professional,” she said. “They are really advanced and they treat their athletes with a lot of respect, and that was probably my favorite thing about OSU.”
Coaches play an important role in the recruiting experience as well. Bryan Patton, Jacy's coach, said his role in the recruiting process was to “be a point person and to give insights in to Jacy’s work habits. Most coaches recognize how special she is, so I just try to give a little insight on who she is as a person. I think it starts with the fact that she’s a great person. She cares not just about herself but about people. She has a big heart and has been raised the right way. I think her sister and her family situation has just humbled her.”
Patton mentioned that she has a strongwork ethic and says that she is often in the gym at six in the morning. “Jacy loves the game of basketball and it comes out each and every day,” he said. When asked about her own work ethic, Jacy shared that it’s “a huge part of how I play. I try to work out every day for at least two hours or so. I always work before and after practice.” Coach Patton added “What she told you was probably only half of how hard she really works. Jacy is the easiest superstar you’ll ever coach.”
Jacy consistently sets high expectations for herself and strives to be a team leader. Her ultimate goal is to “become the best player I can be and I’m not even close to there yet. I have a lot to work on, a lot to get better at.” She is the first Dublin Coffman player to ever score 2,000 points in her high school career.
A strong work ethic, great teammates, impactful coaches, and a supportive family have all contributed to Jacy being able to play the game that she loves at a high level. Witnessing first hand Jacy’s dominance on the court, and hearing about her kindheartedness off the court, it’s easy to see why so many schools were interested in her. Balancing school and basketball is not easy, but having the recruiting decision behind her as taken some stress away. All of Jacy’s hard work and perseverance has paid off because now she has the opportunity to continue playing the game she loves at Ohio State.