Ritchie’s Spencer inks with AB

ELLENBORO — Ritchie County 5-foot-9 guard Shawn Spencer just wanted a chance to play the game he loves at the next level.

On Wednesday, the Rebel senior inked his national letter of intent to play basketball for Great Midwest Athletic Conference Division II member Alderson Broaddus University.

“Shawn comes to us as a walk-on,” said Battler head man Greg Zimmerman. “He will be given the opportunity to work and improve his skills here at ABU the next few years. We always like West Virginia kids that stick it out for their time here as they seem to develop as players.”

Spencer, who was forced to move to point guard as a senior and away from his normal shooting guard role, had a 3.1 cumulative GPA and plans to major in physical education with a minor in elementary education.

“Until my junior year I had been kind of a background player and then stepped into a leadership role,” said Spencer. “Last year I went to the West Virginia exposure camp and that kind of opened my eyes a little bit. My junior year was by far the best year I had in high school.”

As a senior, Spencer led the Rebels with 30 made 3-pointers and averaged six points, two rebounds and two assists per game.

“I had messaged the coach at Marietta College (Jon VanderWal) and he said he knew coach Zimmerman was looking for a couple guys to maybe help him out. Coach Zimmerman responded to me and gave me an opportunity and I can’t thank him enough for that,” Spencer said of how things got started on him becoming a Battler.

“When I went to the campus I really liked it and it stood out to me. Philippi is kind of small compared to a lot of big schools and where I live in Ritchie County, it’s small too. They treated me like family even before I said I was going to sign there.”

Of course, Spencer knows he’s got a long road ahead of him in order to carve out playing time, but he’s willing to put in the work.

“AB has a JV team so as a freshman and sophomore hopefully I’ll be getting some minutes on that,” said the son of Mark and Mary Spencer. “That stood out to me. I won’t have to sit on the bench and I expect my game to evolve.

“Being in Ritchie County it taught me how to work hard and I just take pride in that.”

Spencer said two moments stood out to him as a Rebel, which included “my junior year we only won one game when Ben Knight hit a shot at the buzzer and the whole crowd stormed the court. It was coach (Chris) Wells’ first win.

“This year we actually won a sectional game. We went to St. Marys and beat Tyler Consolidated and that was kind of nice to be able to get a huge win.”

The now ex-Rebel firmly believes if he continues to put in the necessary work he can be a contributor for the Battlers down the road.

“They like the way I shoot the 3-ball. That’s what everybody usually says,” Spencer replied when asked about his game. “Over the summer I’ve evolved a pull-up jumper and a floater.

“They expect me to get stronger and I pass the ball pretty well. They expect the rest of my game to come along the next two or three years.”