Local News

Hoops Star-Soldier Battles at CIAA Tourney, in Iraq

Posted February 28, 2008 6:04 p.m. EST
Updated February 28, 2008 6:35 p.m. EST

— When not in the blue-and-white of the Lady Broncos basketball team at Fayetteville State University, Shacovia Sheppard wears a markedly different uniform.

A power forward, Sheppard is an Army reservist who will deploy next month for her second tour in Iraq.

"It was actually a general that pulled me aside that told me that I've been ordered to go serve my country," she said. "At first, it was hard because I knew I had to tell my mother, my family. They were the first people I thought about."

Sheppard spent a year patrolling the streets of embattled Iraqi provinces in 2005-06. But she said her military service didn't cut into her time on the hardwood.

"We had a little league in the base camp I was assigned to. Whenever I wasn't on the road, I was playing basketball," she said.

Basketball has been part of her life for years.

"My father played basketball. I guess I get it from him," she said. "I was always with him when he went out to play with his friends. Ever since, basketball just stuck to me."

Sheppard's unit is scheduled to deploy in the middle of March. Before that, though, she faces a semifinal battle in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournament.

Coach Eric Tucker said the Lady Broncos will miss Sheppard, noting the team relies on her energy and toughness.

Sheppard said she is ready to fulfill her duty.

"I get sad every now and then because I have to leave my family again, I have to leave my teammates again. But I got to do what I got to do," she said.