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Campus Celebrities: Ridge Shipley & Chris Eversley

SLOsports.net

March is always a crazy time. I’m not just talking about the hectic atmosphere of finals and St. Patrick’s Day… no, I’m talking about March Madness.

Every year, millions of Americans obsess over which teams will rise to the top in the legendary tournament, and this year Cal Poly became Big West Champions and made it to March Madness for the first time in its history. It was sure as hell a good year to be a mustang.

These power players are our classmates, roommates, and friends, but have you ever wanted to know more about the Mustangs putting Cal Poly on the map?

I sat down with freshman Ridge Shipley and Chris Eversley, who have been taking the NCAA by storm, both on and off the court. Oh, and fun fact, Chris and Ridge have a pregame jump rope ritual where Chris pretends to be a master passing down the jump rope to his samurai … and hey, it seems to be working wonders. 

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Meet Ridge, a self-described social butterfly and Christian that comes from a strong family of professional athletes and made the three-pointer against Cal State Northridge that was heard around the world. 

Player: Ridge Shipley

Hometown: Plano, Texas

Position: Guard 

Major: Recreation, Parks, & Tourism Administration

Year: 1st year

Favorite food: Mom’s homestyle Texas Cooking

Pregame rituals: Go to Mr. Pickles before every home game, listen to “Moment” by Lil Wayne and old school Eminem, say a pregame prayer by himself before going on the court, jump rope on the court with Chris and do secret handshakes with other players, coaches and managers. 

Fun fact: Ridge was born and raised in Texas, but has never been line dancing.

Her Campus: Do you have any good luck charms?

Ridge Shipley: I have a dove tattoo on my chest for my aunt. She passed away from breast cancer the day before my birthday three years ago, so I got that in memory of her. I always tap my chest before my free throws to remind me of her. She was a second mom to me.

Her Campus: How have you seen the team change from the beginning of season up until now?

Ridge Shipley: I think we got closer as a team. Our team chemistry was there. In the beginning of the year, we were having the toughest preseason schedule in Cal Poly history, so I think for us to be able to stay confident even though it wasn’t showing on our record was a big thing. I think we did a good job of it, and believing in our teammates and our coaching staff. 

Her Campus: What advice would you give to a little kid that wants to play collegiate basketball?

Ridge Shipley: Listen to your parents! Listen to your teachers, because without your parents or teachers, you won’t have the opportunity to play college basketball, especially without good grades. Work every day. Be different than everyone else. You don’t have to follow a crowd to make it. You don’t have to do everything that I did, but be able to do your own thing and be confident and stay away from peer pressure. Don’t be afraid to get better. 

Courtesy of Ridge Shipley

Her Campus: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Ridge Shipley: I see myself as a successful person, taking basketball as far as I ca,n because without basketball, I would not be here. I feel like I have some kind of plan to get myself on a big platform to be able to spread as much advice as I can. I feel like now, being a college athlete, you kind of turn some more heads. Give more advice, spread the word. The higher I go and the more success I have, the more people I can affect. I want to play at least five years professionally whether it’s here or overseas, and then it’s start my own business time and settle down. I’ll be back in Texas — Texas forever!

Her Campus: What did it feel like when you made that 3-pointer against CSUN?

Ridge Shipley: It was just kind of surreal. I just kind of stood there and everything was in slow motion. I’ve been dreaming of hitting that shot. That’s something me and my mom practiced every day before elementary school. I couldn’t leave the court until I hit a 3-point shot!

Her Campus: What’s been the most memorable part of this whole experience?

Ridge Shipley: Just being able to travel and get the whole experience. It was such a blessing to be there. I’m looking at it now and thinking “Wow, that’s a crazy experience.” At the time, it was just fast-paced. I got to catch my breath and go back home and sit back and think, “That’s a really cool thing that we did.” Also, the feeling when the crowd was rushing the court. Everyone’s grabbing you and telling you, “Good job.”

Her Campus: What particular moment will you always remember?

Ridge Shipley: When I took a selfie with Reggie Miller and he’s like, “Tell me about your shot!” I was freaking out. Everyone was like, “Stop freaking and out act like you’ve done this before,” but I was like, “I don’t care.” They probably were just mad because they didn’t get a selfie with him. 

 

Courtesy of Ridge Shipley

Next I sat down with Chris, who just culminated his Cal Poly career by making history as the 2014 Big West Tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Don’t worry, though! He may be graduating, but he’s just getting started. 

Ian Billings/Mustang News

Name: Chris Eversley 

Position: Forward

Major: Recreation, Parks, & Tourism Administration

Year: 4th year

Hometown: Chicago, Ill.

Favorite food: American food

Favorite animal: Lion

Fun fact: “I’m pretty wild and crazy and out there. I love being spontaneous; it’s just who I am. I hate living life inside a box. You have fun and only have one of them.”

Favorite players: Michael Jordan & Kevin Durant

Her Campus: What advice would you give to little kid that wants to play collegiate basketball one day?

Chris Eversley: Keep working and work hard. Work harder than everybody else. One of the things I like to live by is just don’t take no for an answer. There’s always going to be people saying you can’t do this you can’t do that, and I mean it’s like, why not? You can’t tell me what I can and can’t do, so you just basically work until it’s a yes. 

Her Campus: How have you seen the team change in your years here at Poly? 

Chris Eversley: This year, I don’t really know what to say about a team. Since I’ve been here, we’ve always been like a half-court, slow-paced, offense, and that’s changed, for the better. We’ve become a little bit more fast-paced since time’s gone on. We’ve become more athletic. We have guys like Dave and Joel, guys who can go can go dunk and block shots at the top of the square like it’s nothing, but yeah, the athleticism standpoint has changed because we have more guys that are doing that. It’s definitely been fun because that not only helps us win games, but it puts people in the stands, because people love to see dunks, blocks, and all that stuff. 

Her Campus: What did making march madness mean for the team?

Chris Eversley: It meant everything. As a kid, you dream about that type of situation. It meant a lot more because of the season we had before we started the tournament. A lot of people had wrote us off, even here. At school people were saying, “Oh, you guys are terrible.” When you make that situation happen and you lose to Santa Barbara by 16 on senior night and everyone’s like, “Oh, it’s over. We’re going to play them again in six days and lose again,” but nobody on the team decided that it was time yet. Everyone wanted to keep fighting and turn up the pressure and just get excited. 

Her Campus: What memory will always stand out to you? 

Chris Eversley: Cutting down the nets at the Honda Center. I’ve never won a championship like that, and I’ve never had nets or anything. You see it on TV at march madness, and as a kid, you dream about it. It was our turn. 

Mustang News

Her Campus: What was it like playing five games in eight days?

Chris Eversley: It was hard, looking back it. I haven’t really had a chance to think about it until recently because I haven’t been doing much since finishing school. Literally playing three games back to back to back, with minimal preparation, which is good because it doesn’t allow you to overthink things. The main thing beside the playing fives games was switching time zones three times. You lose so much sleep after playing Texas Southern and playing Wichita State, we were running on fumes- pure adrenaline.

Her Campus: What does it mean to have the support of everyone here?

Chris Eversley: It’s big time. It definitely shows you how close-knit our community is, especially the student body. Senior night was still sold out, and our support’s grown over the past couple years. A lot of games have been sold out. Our student body’s great. They’re probably my favorite thing, besides the band. The band makes it more enjoyable. The band does more than people realize and they deserve more exposure. They do tremendous things for our program. 

Her Campus: Where you do you see yourself 10 years from now?

Chris Everlsey: Happy! Happy with whatever I’m doing. Whether I’m playing basketball or have like a sports marketing job. Probably no kids yet, unless I’ve done everything I want to do.

Her Campus: Do you want to go pro?

Chris Eversley: Yes! It’s basically like being recruited for college all over again.

Her Campus: How has Joe Callero’s coaching influenced the team?

Chris Eversley: He’s always been very defensive-minded. His defensive principles and his techniques and methods are up there with the best of them, you know, so that kind of trickles down. You won’t play on our team if you can’t defend. If you don’t defend and rebound, you won’t play. He makes everyone that comes into the program a defender or a rebounder. Everybody has their strength, and we always put it to good use. 

Her Campus: Do you have any pregame rituals?

Chris Eversley: On game days, I have a specific type of body wash I use and I think I shower twice a day on game days. Jumping rope (with Ridge) right before the game. I’ll pass the rope to him like a samarai. We have fun with it. It’s definitely a good time.

Her Campus: What would people be surprised to know about you?

Chris Eversley: I’m actually kind of a geek. I love playing video games, like a lot. It’s not an unhealthy amount but instead of going downtown or partying, I’d rather stay in and watch a movie or hang out and play Call of Duty. I’m very personal outside of when I have to be sociable, if that makes sense. 

Her Campus: Did you ever anticipate this happening?

Chris Eversley: Basketball’s a part of me, but it’s not who I am. It’s a large part of me.You learn how to compartmentalize it all because you realize that, “OK, I play basketball, but if we lose this game and don’t make it to a tournament, I’m still Chris, I’m still alive. I’m not some soldier in Iraq defending my country and risking my life.” It’s so small in the scheme of things. You kind of have to take a step back and realize that I provide people entertainment for a living. It’s just about bringing a positive vibe to a world that’s been good to me so far. 

Her Campus: Do you think your attitude about basketball and life was influenced by how you were brought up?

Chris Eversley: Yes. When you grow up in a bad neighborhood, small things are the world. When you grow up in those environments, it teaches you not only how to deal with your environment and adapt but how to deal with people. 

 

Ian Billings/Mustang News

As this superstar season for the Cal Poly Men’s basketball team comes to an unforgettable close, players are filled with pride and nostalgia that is perhaps difficult to articulate: “Whether people like it or not, they can’t change what you did,” Chris said. 

Allison Royal is a journalism student at Cal Poly SLO. The Lorde song "Royals" is actually based on her life. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Allison classifies herself as a ghetto rap enthusiast who enjoys frequent adventures throughout SLO, sunny weather, making additional SLO puns, floral print clothing, acai bowls, and throwback Thursdays. She hopes to write in some capacity and change the world. " I wasn't born into this world ... maybe I could write myself into it." - Dan Humphrey
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