Benet's Sheehan signs with Valpo
Signing day is always an exciting time for high school athletes, but last Wednesday meant a little extra to Benet senior Molly Sheehan.
Sheehan attended a pair of signing ceremonies, one with her high school teammate Kendall Moriarty, and another with her AAU teammates at M14. She cherished each of them because of uncertainty -- not knowing if she'll get a senior high school season, and not knowing if she would be able to find a Division I scholarship in the middle of a pandemic.
"I think signing day came at a great time," said Sheehan, who lives in Hinsdale. "It can't get more official than that. It does guarantee with all this unknown if we are having a senior season, it reassures myself and Kendall and every other player in the country that we do have a future, that we are Division I, II, III athletes. It was a good distraction from refreshing Twitter every second to see if we are playing, if we are not playing. It was a good day to put everything aside and celebrate each other and our success."
Sheehan, a 5-foot-8 guard, will play next year at Valparaiso.
When the high school season ended last February, Sheehan had no college offers. She was on the phone a lot, talking to her high school coach Joe Kilbride and her AAU coaches.
"I was banking on this last AAU season, and I was excited with where my game was at," Sheehan said. "When everything started getting shut down everyone was freaking out. I was freaking out."
Sheehan took things into her own hands, making a three-minute highlight video. She put it on Twitter and eventually heard back from Valpo coach Mary Evans, who was familiar with both the Benet and M14 programs.
Evans asked for game tapes of the 5-foot-8 point guard. In addition to Sheehan's basketball skills, Evans was impressed with the number of times Sheehan high-fived teammates.
"She is a great leader and will bring lots of energy and enthusiasm to our program," Evans said. "Her ability to shoot the 3 and distribute the basketball is what really drew us to her. She is an amazing student and a great person and will be a great addition to our team and the Valpo community."
In April, Evans offered Sheehan a scholarship in a Zoom meeting.
"It felt good to be wanted by them," Sheehan said. "It was a mutual thing right from the start. It was the best decision I ever made. They did a great job making us feel like family. Right off the bat Valpo caught my eye."
Sheehan averaged 6 points and 4 assists last year on a deep Redwings team that went 29-3 and won conference and regional titles.
As a sophomore, she helped Benet finish fourth in the state.
"Molly was poised to have a great senior year for us," Kilbride said. "She is a crafty pick and roll player and excellent 3-point shooter with WNBA range. Her biggest improvements have been in her ability to defend the ball full court in our press, and she has become a key voice in our gym, bringing energy to our practices on a daily basis."
Sheehan laughed when asked about her WNBA range.
During the contact days this fall, Sheehan used water breaks to start shooting her 3s from two feet, three feet and further behind the arc.
"It is something I'm trying to work on," Sheehan said. "I want to fine tune that like all areas of my game before college.
"I've always loved shooting the 3. I think that's one of my strengths. I have thought I have to up my range because the college 3-point line is a little further back and in games there's going to be girls stronger than me and bigger than me so if I can shoot from farther range I think it will be super helpful. It's easy to work on and I love doing it."