Apple Valley's Carson Shanks Heads To Final Four With Loyola-Chicago

Mother Amy Shanks Talked To WCCO Radio About Her Son's Journey

The Morning News with Dave Lee
March 30, 2018 - 9:44 am

© Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

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The mother of the only Minnesota playing in men's college basketball's Final Four is excited about seeing him suit up tomorrow for Loyola-Chicago against Michigan in San Antonio, Texas.

But Amy Shanks, whose son Carson, #32 in the photo, is a senior for the Ramblers, and is just as excited to see the team's chaplain and spiritual leader, 98-year-old Sister Jean.

"Oh yes, Sister Jean is awesome," Amy told Dave Lee on the WCCO Morning News. "That was my big thrill, last week I got a selfie taken with Sister Jean. It was pretty cool.  She tells me that I've got a very sweet, nice voice. So that makes me happy."

But not near as happy as she is for Carson, who graduated from North Dakota last spring with a degree in communications, but still had eligibility after playing three seasons for the Fighting Hawks.

"Oh, gosh, Carson's always chosen the crazy path through things," she said before boarding a Friday morning flight to San Antonio with her daughter.  Carson, believed to be the first 7-footer ever to play basketball at Loyola, was contacted by Ramblers coach Porter Moses before last summer.

What made the move appealing to Carson's family, especially his father, was that Loyola was driving distance from their home in Apple Valley. Michael Shanks, who is about six-foot, ten-inches himself, does not like to fly. In fact, he was already in San Antonio before the rest of the family got there.

"It just doesn't make sense, in his mind, to fly," said Amy, who is nearly six feet tall. "He drives everywhere. He drove down for the playoffs in Dallas, and has not been home since.”

The Ramblers played their first two games in Dallas, beating Miami and Tennessee on last-second shots.  Carson did not play in either game.

"He only packed one little duffel bag, so he's been doing a lot of wash on the road," Amy said of her husband. "We just take the easy way and fly."

Carson’s only action in this year's NCAA tournament was one scoreless minute at the tail-end of Loyola's decisive win over Kansas State that clinched the Final Four berth. He did play in last year's tournament, scoring five points in North Dakota's first-round loss to Arizona.

And now he's playing on a true Cinderella team, one that few pegged as a Final Four contender.

"By Christmastime, we just kept saying there's something special about this team," said Amy.  "My husband called it, actually.

"It's just been, kind of the little engine that won't stop." she said. "They've knocked off some pretty big teams, consistently. It's about time that people are starting to believe that they can do this."

"And it's all up to Sister Jean, the bottom line is," Amy said. "If she says they're we're go, we're a go."

 

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