Shawn Atupem was a four-year letterwinner on the Mount men's basketball team from 2007-11. He became the 42nd player in program history to reach 1,000 points in his career after scoring 17 points against Quinnipiac at Knott Arena on Jan. 23, 2011. Atupem finished his career 30th all-time in program history with 1,121 career points. He was a key member off the bench in the Mount's 2008 Northeast Conference Tournament Championship team. In addition, Atupem hosted his own show called "Up Against Atupem" in his senior year. He just finished his first season of professional basketball as a member of the UCC Demons in Ireland.
Give an update on what you have been up to since graduating from the Mount.
Besides missing my time at the Mount, I have been trying to build a career professionally. The past year I was fortunate enough to be a part of a team in Ireland and had a very good year, both on and off the court. More importantly since my time at the Mount, I have been trying to build on the foundation that the Mount provided me in becoming a better overall person day-by-day.
What are some of the differences between college basketball and pro basketball?
The college game differs from the professional game in many ways. Some rule changes such as shot clock from 35 to 24 seconds. Also the game is more orientated to pick and rolls and isolations. But at the end of the day the rims are still 10 feet and the ball still round so I just played the game I'm used to playing.
What was the biggest cultural shock when you went overseas to play?
Well I was lucky enough to be in a country in which English was the main language, however, that did not really help much in my understanding. The heavy accents coupled with the fast pace conversations made English sound like a language I never heard before. Over the time I got used to it but it took me a while.
The Mount prepared me for the world in many ways. Obviously having the chance to attain a degree from a university like the Mount is very helpful in the preparation for the real world, but it was the relationships I got from the Mount that helped the most. Helpful professors with a coach like Milan Brown and his staff is what I credit to my readiness for the real world, but who is ever REALLY ready for the real world out of college? It's a totally different experience!
What was your most memorable experience at the Mount athletically?
Well this one is obviously an easy question for me being a part of the 2008 NEC Championship team. I would have the say that whole year athletically was my favorite memory. The roller coaster ride it was for me, going from possibly red shirting to playing a part in the team's success, and the team, ups and downs that the season presented us, ending in the ultimate goal is a feeling that has yet to be matched since.
I'm not sure if this fits the non-athletic part but just returning to the campus after we played in the NCAA tournament and seeing the amount of joy and excitement that we was able to bring to the campus. Seeing the students that were our peers genuinely happy off the accomplishments that we were able to bring to the school and being able to celebrate together as one. That was a good feeling!
The upcoming season marks the five-year anniversary of the 2008 NEC Men's Basketball Tournament Championship team. What are some of your favorite memories from that season and what made that team successful?
It's already been five years! Man, we getting old!! Ha! Oddly enough some of my favorite memories from that season were the times we spent in practice. If you ever seen or been a part of a Coach (Milan) Brown practice you know they are no joke! It was fun to be able to get through those tough practices with the guys and build bonds that still last to this day and will last forever. That is part of the reason why we were successful. We had a lot of chemistry on the court, but it stemmed from our off the court actions. We were really a family, a bunch of guys that did just what brothers do, fight, argue, laugh, joke, and most of all win. We did everything together. I even remember hearing people on campus seeing one of us and saying "here comes the basketball team" because they knew we were always together!
What does it mean to you to be one of several players from that team to have played professional basketball?
It means a lot to be in that group of athletes from the Mount. Obviously for personal reasons of always wanted to be able to accomplish that goal and attempting to maximize my potential. It also is gratifying because of the bond I have with the ones who also have made it. Jeremy Goode, Will Holland, Markus Mitchell, Kelly Beidler and Mychal Kearse are all guys that had a heavy influence on me as a person and in basketball. It is a great feeling to see them being successful in what they have pursued.
Looking back at your time at the Mount, what advice would you give to current Mount students or someone looking to come to the Mount?
Looking back at my time at the Mount makes me realize one thing, time goes fast! My advice to current students would be to cherish your time there. Have fun and enjoy yourself. It's a great time in your life and you're making memories you will never forget. To prospective students, I would say that the Mount is a great environment to grow and become your own person with the help of many who have your best interest at heart. It's truly a great school!
Check out one of our favorite episodes of "Up Against Atupem"
If you are a former Mount student-athlete and would like to be featured in After The Mount Peaks, contact Assistant Sports Information Director Dave Musil at firstname.lastname@example.org