MARION — They came into the world together, so it’s only fitting Shawn and Shawnta’ Dyer get inducted into the Marion Harding High School Athletic Hall of Fame together.
“I think that’s my favorite thing about this hall of fame, going in with him. He’s my best friend. We literally talk every day. We have the greatest relationship,” Shawnta’ said of her twin brother.
As for Shawn, the feeling is mutual about his sister.
“Shawnta’, she’s the GOAT,” he said of her being the greatest of all time at Marion Harding. “We had a lot of good memories.”
The school never experienced a winter like the one in 2010: the girls basketball team, a Greater Buckeye Conference powerhouse and state-ranked squad, and the upstart boys team posting a 20-win season and winning its first league title in nearly two decades. Leading both of those programs was a pair of multi-year All-Ohioans who shared the same last name.
“It was nice and definitely competitive for sure,” Shawn said.
The two tried to bring out the best in the other in their own ways.
“We didn’t play as much 1-on-1 as you would think growing up, but I wanted to make sure Shawnta’ knew that you’re getting all these (recruiting) letters, but I’m still better than you,” Shawn added. “It got to a point where we played a series of three or seven, and I wrote the final scores on the wall. It got to that point.”
Shanta’ admits as much.
“I used to go to the gym with my brother, and he would work me out and put me through these tough, intense workouts. He wasn’t my brother on the court,” she said. “He was my coach. He’d say I’m not going to be soft on you. I’m not going to be sweet on you. This is the big time, and you need to be able to do all these things if you want to make it to the next level.”
They may have shared a name and a birthday, but they were very different people.
Shawn was driven, regimented and a grinder who loved basketball. Shawnta’ was a natural who didn’t know the ins and outs of the game like her brother.
“I was the person who loved to sleep in in the mornings and take my time with certain things,” Shawnta’ said. “I would miss the bus from school at times in middle school. Things like that. My brother was the complete opposite, works hard, wakes up early, basketball in his hand, eating breakfast, very routine-like.”
Both were standouts, but only one was a national recruit.
“I remember one time she got 30 D-I letters sent to home and I laid them out,” Shawn said. “I’m this big college basketball fan. You’ve got Duke. You’ve got Pitt. You’ve got this. I laid them all out in the living room because I’m in awe, and Shawnta’ walks in and walks by like nothing happened. She said, ‘Shawn, I don’t even know what you’re talking about right now.’ It got to the point where I was like ‘Shawnta’ tell them we have to be a package deal,’ and she would laugh at me. She wasn’t a rebel like me.”
Shawnta’ was a 6-foot-2 post player with guard skills, a highly coveted package of talent. Shawn was a 6-foot guard who was adept at running a team and working in the lane.
“I tell people all the time that if you have height, that’s a skill in basketball. I’m 6-foot and the average guy overseas in Europe is 6-5. It doesn’t mean you still can’t make it, but in basketball, you’ve got to have a skill and height is one of them. Shawnta’ definitely had that,” he said.
Shawnta’ is quick to give credit to their mother Tara, other family members, coaches and teammates who helped her along her journey to high school superstardom and beyond, but one stands out.
“Having that person in my ear 24-7, telling me I can do better, but also giving me my flowers during my accomplishments, too, I feel like he was an important piece of my life in general and still is. There is no way I would have success without Shawn,” she said.
Shawnta’ went to Louisville, a big-time program that routinely made NCAA Tournament runs and played for a national championship during her tenure. Shawn found success at the NCAA Division II ranks, playing for his own national title while at West Liberty in West Virginia.
Still, envy or resentment never crept into their relationship. Support for one another never stopped.
“I still had my job to do to get to where I wanted to get to,” Shawn said. “It was definitely motivating, and we would check in with each other and see how we’re doing after games. It was nice.”
Added Shawnta’: “We built off each other’s strengths, and we know if one of us is going to be successful, both of us are going to be successful. There’s never any jealousy.”
Shawnta’ overcame three major injuries in her career at Louisville, but still made an impact on the Cardinals, being named their comeback player of the year during her redshirt senior season. After West Liberty, Shawn played at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. After college, both played professionally overseas, Shawn briefly in the Domincan Republic and Shawnta’ for five seasons in five different countries.
“There’s no me without him. It’s in my name. Shawn is in my name. There’s not me without Shawn,” Shawnta’ said of her basketball journey. “It’s awesome and he’s been my rock the whole time. He’s supportive in every single thing I do. He’s with me every single step of the way, and it’s awesome that I have someone like that in my life.”
The Dyers returned home to Marion. Shawn is in sales and personal training, also coaching and refereeing on the side, while Shawnta’ is in the midst of changing careers from teaching to nursing.
“Having that person keep me accountable in life and in basketball, there’s no way I would have went to Louisville or played professional basketball,” she added
Shawnta’ can’t think of a better person to enter the Marion Harding High School Athletic Hall of Fame with her.
“Even in high school, we were super close. I know my brother had the best work ethic I’ve ever seen in any person on this Earth and is more deserving than I am,” she said. “I feel like he’s always been a person who has had to prove himself over and over and over, and he continues to shock the world.”
As for Shawn, it means a lot to hear praise from someone like his twin sister.
“That’s a lot of love and it makes me feel special and touches my heart because she had a lot of stuff that I wanted,” he admitted. “A lot of people think it just came to her, but she put in the work, too. It just came a little easier to her.”
So accomplishing one more thing together is only natural, and that’s why tonight will be so special for the Dyers at the 30th class induction ceremony at the high school.
“Honestly, I feel like everything we’ve done, we’ve done together,” Shawnta’ said. “We went to college basketball together. We were literally in my mom’s belly together. Why not go in together into the hall of fame?”
Rob McCurdy is the sports writer at the Marion Star and can be reached at email@example.com, 419-610-0998, Twitter @McMotorsport and Instagram @rob_mccurdy_star.
Marion Harding Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet
The Marion Harding High School Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet where the latest class gets indicted is tonight at 6 p.m. in the high school cafetorium. It is open to the public. Tickets, which include a catered dinner, are $30 apiece. Please call the Marion Harding Athletic Department at 740-223-4634 to reserve spots or for more information.