Former Cowboy basketball player Tavarius Shine took time out of his day to answer a few questions about what he has been up to since the Pokes season ended in March, and to update us on his professional career. Tavarius recently signed with a professional team in Sweden. The OSU graduate shared some advice for this year’s Pokes squad, and told me what he wants to eat for his last meal in the States before leaving. Before he takes off for Sweden later this August, read my Q&A with him below.
Ryan Harris:What are you looking forward to most about playing in Sweden?
Tavarius Shine: “Just going over there and competing, doing the same stuff and actually getting a start to my professional career.”
RH: How do you think your college career prepared you for playing professionally, and how did you know it was time to go pro?
TS: “My college career, it helped out a lot because I got to play in the Big 12, a top conference in the country. I got to play against a lot of guys that got to play in the NBA and overseas. I’ve met a lot of guys who are in the NBA and overseas, so I mean it prepared me well competition-wise. I felt like I was ready to go professional. I sat down with my family and we all came down to that decision. We just felt like it was time, and I felt like I was ready.”
RH: What are you going to miss most about Stillwater and playing for OSU?
TS: “Just the team, you build a relationship with those guys on the team. They go from being just your teammates to your brothers. I’m actually watching them play right now.”
RH: Is there anything your looking forward to most about living in Sweden aside from playing basketball?
TS: “I’ve never been out of the States, so going over there to see something like that on the other side of the world, that’s the biggest part for me. I’m pretty sure it’s a totally different culture over there than I’m used to, that’s my biggest thing. Going over there and just appreciating the opportunity that I have to go play professional.”
RH: Do you have a message to this year’s Cowboy basketball squad?
TS:“My message for the team is to never get too high and never get too low. Stay the course, stay focused and also remain humble. Every day is not going to be your day, always remember that. Somebody is always going to come out and hit you in your mouth when you least expect it. Respect all your opponents.”
RH: It definitely has to be one of those things that is 365 days a year. You have to give everything you’ve got. The game is consistent, and it’ll give you what you put into it.
TS: “Most definitely. Stay in the gym, you play in the Big 12. The days of [OSU players] not being in the gym and you’re in your dorm relaxing or partying, you got to remember that the next team you’re going against is Kansas, going against Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma. Those are good teams. Everybody is not doing the same thing. If you’re not in the gym, somebody else probably is in the gym.”
RH: It’s a big transition for high school players coming in and now they’re wearing university letters across their chest. It can be a big transition even for guys that have transferred from other schools.
TS: “Coming from different conferences, if you didn’t come from that top two or three conferences, coming into the Big 12 is like coming to something totally different. The game is way faster, it’s way more physical, it’s way more athletic than playing against other college teams. The Big 12 is just totally different, in my opinion.”
RH:If you had a message for potential recruits, what would you say to them? Why should they come play for Mike Boynton at OSU?
TS: “You have so much to look forward to, coming and signing with coach Boynton. You have a youthful coach who is willing to listen and learn from you as you learn from him. It’s a great coaching staff. Stillwater speaks for itself, Oklahoma State speaks for itself in the Big 12, you’re going to play against great competition. If you want to come and be great, why not choose Oklahoma State? They have everything you need there.”
RH: What is your favorite memory from playing basketball for OSU?
TS: “My favorite is rushing the court. Fans rushing the court, it’s hard to explain to people that feeling when you just beat a top five team and the fans rush the court. It’s surreal right there.”
RH: That’s something that every student wants to experience too. Coming into college everyone wants to rush the court or rush the field. That’s one of those moments that we remember just as much as the players do, and I’m thankful y’all gave us that opportunity last year. Of course students are always going to support OSU athletics, but y’all are our classmates. It means more to us to see y’all succeed.
TS: “They say we’re student-athletes but I always looked at it as we’re students. We just added basketball on to our plate. But definitely the fans, playing in an arena like that, sold out, you can’t even explain that. It’s amazing. It’ll make you do things you didn’t know you could do.”
RH: Looking ahead to your pro career, is there anything you are looking forward to doing in Sweden aside from basketball?
TS: “I’ll be in the gym all the time, but I’m definitely looking forward to being out there, trying the restaurants, the food, just the living and how everybody is. I want to go out there and experience life out there and see how they live out there, that’s my biggest thing right now.”
RH: What are you looking forward to most about playing for your new team?
TS: “Really just meeting everybody in person. I want to get there and win as much as possible. It’s always more fun when you’re winning. I want to get there and get to know those guys, I actually know one of the guys on the team already. I met him when I was doing my pre-draft stuff. [I’m excited to] get there and build a relationship with the staff and be more hands on and in person.
RH:What is your last meal in the United States going to be?
TS: “It’s going to be home cooked for sure. It’ll definitely be my mom’s meal for sure. I don’t know man, my favorite that she cooks is smothered pork chops with rice and gravy and a side, whatever side she cooks.”
Tavarius leaves for Sweden at the end of the month to begin getting settled in before his first season as a professional basketball player begins. Following his first season in Sweden, Shine plans on entering the 2019 NBA draft, which will take place next June. On behalf of OSU fans everywhere, thank you for all the memories you left us from your time at OSU. Everyone here at CRFF will be keeping up with your career. Good luck on and off the court and have a great adventure overseas!