Previewing the Opponent: Former USC Song Girl Shea Jackson Has a Strong Connection to Boston College5
September 11, 2013 by Seth Rubinroit
Galen Central’s new weekly series will preview the basketball team of USC’s football opponent. With USC football playing Boston College on Saturday, here is a preview of the Eagles’ basketball team, in the form of a feature on former USC Song Girl Shea Jackson’s connection to the squad. Read an earlier preview of Washington State.
By Seth Rubinroit
As a Song Girl, Shea Jackson showed her unwavering support of USC Athletics during wins and losses, sunshine and rain.
When Boston College comes to the Galen Center on December 8, however, she will be rooting for the Eagles instead of her beloved Trojans.
“When it comes to family, all bets are off,” Shea said. “It is like a biological instinct.”
Shea’s younger brother, Lonnie, is a starting guard for Boston College. Last season, as a sophomore, he led the Eagles in 3-pointers made and three throw percentage.
“I like to say my brother is a finesse player,” Shea said. “He sees the whole floor and can be counted on just as readily for an important assist or a dependable free throw.”
Boston College has a veteran squad under fourth-year coach Steve Donahue. Lonnie is one of eight juniors on the Eagles.
“These guys have grown up together,” Shea said. “Coach Donahue looked for a certain type of player when he was recruiting—he wanted the kids who had their heads on straight and could be counted on to grow and build in the necessary ways to win.”
The Eagles are led by forward Ryan Anderson, who went to Long Beach Poly. Last season he averaged 14.9 points and ranked fourth in the ACC in rebounding, averaging 8.0 per game.
“Ryan is that quintessential big man that you need in the paint,” Shea said.
Last year Olivier Hanlan, who starts in the backcourt alongside Lonnie, burst onto the scene in his first collegiate season. He led Boston College in scoring and was named ACC Freshman of the Year.
“Olivier Hanlan is a beast who can drive up the lane like nobody’s business,” Shea said. “The Eagles have the proper pieces to be a force out there on the floor.”
Shea, who now works for advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy’s Nike account in Portland, has already booked her flight to see her family and watch her brother play against USC.
In addition to being a Song Girl, Shea, who is from Valencia, was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma and interned in the USC Sports Information Department. She has a long list of people she wants to visit with while she is on campus, but she is especially curious to see how her former Song Girl coaches react to seeing her root for the Eagles.
“I can’t wait to catch up with my former coaches, Lori Nelson and Justine Gilman, and see the routines the Song Girls have for this 2013 season,” Shea said. “It will be especially hard for ‘LorDawg’ to stomach, but I know she’ll ultimately be supportive as she knows how strong that family bond is within sports. The real question is what am I going to wear?”
Shea might wear Boston College’s Maroon and Gold to the basketball game, but she will be wearing Cardinal and Gold when she watches the USC vs. Boston College football game on Saturday on TV.
“When I comes to football,” Shea said, “I am always rooting for the Trojans and the Song Girls.”