February 1, 2013

Sharp aims to keep it going

Kevin McCarthy

6-foot Lorenzo McCloud earned a scholarship to Pacific two years ago. After last season, he was joined by 6-foot-1 Sama Taku while 6-foot-3 Kevin Aronis headed off to Western Athletic Conference champion New Mexico State.

photo of Bobby Sharp

Santa Rosa Junior College Coach Craig McMillan, a former guard himself, is seemingly operating a basketball backcourt pipeline and now 6-foot Bobby Sharp is set to join his former teammates in the step up.

In 21 games thus far in 2012-13, Sharp is averaging a team-leading 17.5 points per game alongside 33 assists and a set of remarkable shooting statistics: 47% overall shooting, 86% at the foul line and 46% on treys (82-178). That's a Sharp-shooter, if you will. The Bear Cubs currently own a 17-5 record.

It has always been roundball for Sharp.

“Basketball was my sports love,” he recalled. “I remember always watching Michael Jordan on television and videos.”

But he was also eyeing another Chicago Bull, someone a little more relatable.

“I would also watch Steve Kerr and then go out and try to play and shoot how he did.”

However, Sharp doesn't consider himself a one-trick pony.

“I've always been one of the better shooters but I also take pride in being a good teammate and a leader.” He is a captain this season at Santa Rosa. “I led by my actions before but I'm being more vocal this season, taking on the role of doing both.”

Sharp's hoops journey began with training in elementary school years, sessions that continued through high school.

“I've been taking lessons since the sixth grade with Ned Averbuck. He was a member of California's 1959 NCAA championship team. Learning to do things the right way at such a young age helped my basketball IQ.”

Another stalwart figure in Sharp's development was Cardinal Newman Coach Tom Bonfigli. “I was a starter all four years with him and he was both a coach and a teacher there. I could talk basketball with him but also other subjects.”

Asked what aided his improvement from his freshman season at Santa Rosa, Sharp said, “Coach McMillan gave me a list of things to focus on to improve my game, ones that would take me to a higher level.” The power of to-do lists!

Also, playing for the former guard on very successful teams at Arizona has also proven beneficial.

“I think it (coached by a former collegian and D-1 college coach] does have a benefit,” Sharp offered. “He was a point guard on a team that went to the Final Four. Coach stresses not having turnovers and I take that to heart and I also play much better defense because he was a good defender at Arizona.”

Asked what role he senses he'll play at the next level, Sharp offered,“a combo guard coming off screens and shooting and also bringing the ball up the floor.” He's wide open, willing to stay in California, the west or going further away. Majoring in communications is his current plan and his academics are in order.

It's Sharp's most enjoyable basketball moment that best describes him as a player, teammate and individual.

“My best moment was in my sophomore year in high school. We were undefeated both in pre-season and league on a team of eight or nine seniors. At our last home game, the guys put me on the shoulders of a teammate allowing me to be the first to start cutting down the net.”

His 'we' not 'I' focus is the cake, his basketball skills the icing.