1995 Spartans, Respert - Early Exit Doesn't Diminish Legacy

1995 Spartans, Respert - Early Exit Doesn't Diminish Legacy

Crowley Sullivan

1995 Spartans, Respert - Early Exit Doesn't Diminish Legacy

Shawn Respert did much more than merely finish his career as Michigan State’s all time leading scorer.

Contact @crowleysullivan

When Shawn Respert left the floor in the waning moments of his final game at the Breslin Center on March 11th, 1995, he didn’t just cement his place as the all time leading scorer in the history of Michigan State Basketball.

He left a legacy that’s perhaps even more meaningful.

The traditional “Kissing of the S” started that afternoon when Respert proudly leaned down and kissed our beloved Block S at midcourt when he left the game for the final time.

He’ll forever be one of our finest legends thanks to this monumental contribution he made.

His legendary sendoff capped a season in which he earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors while also being a unanimous First Team All American thanks to, among so many other things, averaging 25.6 a game for the Spartans in what was a special run.

Respert redefined what it meant to be a great shooter – and what it meant to be a great Spartan.

He led the team in scoring in each of his four years in East Lansing averaging 15.8 over 30 games as a freshman, 20.1 per game over 28 games as a sophomore, and 24.3 as a junior over the course of 32 games to go along with the transcendent senior season of 1994-95.

How about the stamina and ability to stay in the lineup for a total of 118 games over four full campaigns?

Though nearly impossible, Respert made it necessary to look past the numbers.

H led the program with skill, class, and the sort of under-the-radar toughness that was a hallmark of Jud Heathcote’s program.

The 1994-95 Spartans exploded onto the scene after a 20-win season and NCAA Tournament appearance in 1993-94 by posting a 14-4 record in the Big Ten that was good for second place in the conference.  The 22-5 overall record earned the Spartans a #3 seed in the NCAA Tournament and there was reason to think that this squad might send Jud out with his second trip to the Final Four and, perhaps, more.

But, on a dreary St, Patrick’s Day night, Weber State spoiled Jud’s final March Madness with an upset that ended the strong season far earlier than anyone anticipated.

Respert’s legacy will never be diminished by the disappointing loss in that First Round game.

His position as the school’s all time leader scorer remains to this day and may never be broken.

But it’s that Kissing of the S that lives on in ways that transcend any statistics.

Shawn Respert made it tough for Spartans to say what’s a more beautiful sight – his silky smooth jump shot or a Spartan senior leaning down to give that last goodbye to Michigan State University.

You decide what’s more beautiful by checking out some videos that would make any Spartan proud –

  • State’s first win over UMAA in 1995 – part of that season’s two-game sweep – when Respert torched the Wolverines from every inch of the floor;

And

  • A beauty of a montage featuring the memorable moments that all were made possible by Shawn Respert’s initial “Kissing of the S.”

Enjoy….

 

Latest

More SpartansWire
Home