c/o Steve McLaughlin

c/o Steve McLaughlin

In Play(er) of the Week, our goal is to highlight outstanding athletes or moments from games that deserve extra attention.

Shane Regan ’25, a guard on the men’s basketball team, has risen to star status this year in a newfound role as a cornerstone of the Cardinals program. Regan leads not only Wesleyan, but the entire NESCAC with 19 points per game and a conference-high 34.3 minutes played per game. On Dec. 11, 2022, Regan was awarded the NESCAC Player of the Week Award for his performances against Colby-Sawyer College and Bridgewater State University, over which he averaged 23 points and 7.5 assists on an incredible 77% from the field. He also earned a spot on the d3hoops.com Team of the Week. The Argus recently sat down with Regan to discuss his recent awards, his basketball origins, and hopes for this season.

The Argus: Can you introduce yourself?

Shane Regan: I’m Shane Regan from Larchmont, New York in Westchester. And I’m a junior psychology major.

A: When did you first start playing basketball?

SR: I first started playing basketball when I was seven or eight. My dad was a college basketball player at Clark University, so he got me into basketball early, and I really grew a liking for it. And I’ve been playing ever since. 

A: What about the sport made you fall in love with basketball?

SR: I always [loved] team sports. I love how many different aspects there are to the game, offensively and defensively. I love the strategy part of the game. And I just love the grind. I love playing every day. And getting better every day. And it’s something I’m really passionate about.

A: Do you have a favorite moment or game from your basketball career before Wes that really sticks out to you?

SR: My junior year at Rye Country Day, we won the championship, and that was a really special moment for me. I wasn’t so sure if I was going to be able to play at the college level, and then I took a big jump in my game that year. And it culminated with the championship. 

A:  So at what point did you decide that you wanted to play at the college level?

SR: I was a big baseball guy, so I wasn’t so sure which route I wanted to go, but like I said, in my junior year, basketball was something I really fell in love with. I decided: I’m going to try to play in college. I went to a lot of different camps, sent out my film, and did everything I could. My mom helped me out a lot, too, to help get seen by my coaches and get recruited.

A: How did you find out about and choose Wes as the right place to continue your academic and basketball career?

SR: The NESCAC was always something I had my eyes on in terms of high quality basketball. A lot of great basketball players are coming out of the NESCAC. And you combine that with elite academics. I wanted to find that great mix and use basketball as a way to help me get into these high-level schools. That’s what I was able to do.

A: How has your experience been so far as a student athlete?

SR: Ever since I stepped on campus, I [felt] really lucky to be a part of such a great program with such great guys. The older guys were so helpful as far as adjusting to college life as a whole. They helped my transition a lot. And coach [Joe] Reilly has also been amazing. Talking with me, not just about basketball but my life off the court and helping me, so I’ve really enjoyed it.

A: Were there any pieces of advice you got that helped you when you were in your early days here?

SR: Just kind of embracing the grind and the ups and downs of being a college athlete. My first year, I had the labrum surgery and the second year I had the surgery on my knee. And the encouragement that the guys gave me really helped me and allowed me to keep my head down and keep working, and put me in the best position to perform how I feel like I have this year. 

A: What were your personal hopes and your hopes for the team going into this year?

SR: For myself and the rest of our teammates, we prioritize our team success and that’s our goal: to win the NESCAC. We just have to put it together. Personally, I wanted to make that jump in my game that I always felt like I could do. I worked really hard over the summer every day on my basketball game. I knew the work would show eventually. So I’m definitely proud of the improvements I’ve made in my game. I’m gonna keep building on that for the rest of this year and for next year. 

A: How has it felt to take on a leadership role this year?

SR: Last year, we had great leaders. We had all of our seniors like Preston Maccoux ’23, Gabe Ravetz ’23, Shaq Dezonie ’23, [and] Gabe Millstein ’23. All those guys are really good leaders, so I was kind of looking towards them. But now it’s different. [I’m] taking more of a role as a leader, so the pressures are a lot higher on me. But I’ve been embracing it and, like I said before, just embracing the ups and downs and knowing that work will show.

A: Can you point to an early game or an early area of the calendar where you feel like you hit your stride and then also when the team locked into gear?

SR: Yeah, I would probably say our second game against Springfield. I was very efficient, I made shots, I passed the ball well. It was definitely the best game I had played in my college career up to that point, and I kind of validated what I thought I could be. For the team, our second weekend versus Endicott. We won that close game after being down 13, coming all the way back, having multiple guys step up and perform well. That was the big game when our season and our momentum shifted the right way.

A: From the rest of the season so far, which game really do you think exemplifies what the team can do?

SR: I’d say the Hamilton game for sure. Winning that double-overtime game was huge for us. We had just gone through a stretch of losses where we’d been right there. Honestly, every single one of our NESCAC losses, we’ve been right there. We needed to make a few more shots, make a few more winning plays, and the outcome could have changed, but in the Hamilton game it was back and forth, and then we ended up winning in double overtime. It was a really special moment, a lot of great performances from multiple people.

A: On Dec. 11 you were awarded the NESCAC Player of the Week for your performances against Colby-Sawyer and Bridgewater-State. How did it feel to get that kind of recognition?

SR: It was really cool for me to get that recognition and also to get on the d3hoops.com Team of the Week. Those definitely meant a lot and validated all the work that I put in. Obviously that’s an individual award, but the team as a whole really contributed to that. Coach Reilly and my teammates put me in really good places to succeed. So that’s a big reason why I was able to get those awards.

A: Right now, you lead the NESCAC in minutes per game, playing 34 or 35 a game. With that kind of workload, how do you stay mentally and physically tough enough to show up and give that kind of effort every game?

SR: It means a lot to me that coach Reilly has such faith in me to have me out there so much. And once I get going, I feel like I can go for the whole game. But the workload is a lot different than it was last year—being a 15- to 20-minute guy and then being boosted up to 35 minutes. It’s something I embrace. 

A: As of now, you lead the NESCAC in scoring, but are also second in assists, only behind Nicky [Johnson ’25]. Has facilitation always been a part of your game, or has it increased as you’ve become more of a leader on the team?

SR: Absolutely. I am able to score the ball, but I definitely consider myself a facilitator as well. A big part of my game is getting downhill, using my dribbling, and driving to the basket. And then when the defense collapses, just making the right pass, not forcing the shots when you have so many good teammates around you, like I do. I definitely pride myself on not just being a scorer, but also making the game easier for my teammates. I’ve been able to watch Nicky and how he plays, how he makes his teammates better, and that’s what makes him such a special player.

A: What’s the team’s mentality and the energy going into this last weekend of the regular season?

SR: This past weekend’s not how we planned to have it go, losing back-to-back versus Middlebury and Williams. But we’re really excited that we’re still in a position to get into the NESCAC playoffs. We can beat anybody if we play how we’re able to, and we put together winning plays on the offensive and defensive side. So we’re definitely very excited, and then going into this matchup Friday, Tufts is going to be a huge game for us. Tufts is a very good team. I think they’re ranked, or they might have just gotten out of the rankings, but they’re gonna challenge us physically. We’re gonna get after it this week in practice. And then Bates on Saturday—that’s another game we feel like we definitely can win, but they’re going to be another good team. So we’re still very confident in where we are, and we still have chances to do really good things.

A: As a leader on the team, what advice have you learned from your time playing basketball at Wes that you would pass on to the younger players?

SR: Embrace the grind and embrace the journey of college basketball. If it was easy to do, everyone would do it. I know it can seem frustrating. But just remember, there are steps to the process. Where I am now, I was nowhere near that as a freshman. I was a guy who didn’t really play at all, but I just kept my head down and worked. Continue to grind and, you know, the results will come. Having a positive, team-first mindset is really important, and just embracing the culture and being appreciative of every moment. Be grateful to be part of such a great program with such great people.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

Ethan Lee can be reached at ejlee@wesleyan.edu.