NORTH ADAMS -- Character and work ethic cannot be measured in pounds or inches.

For McCann Tech guard Shane Fuller, he's excelling on the court, while setting a solid example for his teammates off it.

Fuller may not be the tallest person, standing about 5-foot-5, but what he lacks in height he makes up for with quick feet.

Fuller uses his quickness on the offensive and defensive ends.

McCann Tech coach Mike Nykorchuck said the best example of the junior's defensive prowess came during the team's Jan. 14 game against Pioneer Valley Christian.

Pioneer Valley Christian's leading scorer, Genesis Arias, came into the game averaging 35.7 points per game. Fuller held Arias to 14 (his lowest total to date), leading the Hornets to a 58-41 victory.

"Aside from quickness, one of his best attributes is his mental and physical toughness," Nykorchuck said. "I'd put his toughness amongst the top athletes in the county. He has the mindset that he can do whatever he put his mind and heart to."

Fuller uses his defense to generate steals and create offense for the team. Once he has the ball in his hands, Fuller's shown the ability to score among the bigs inside, or pull up for a transition 3-pointer.

Fuller said he knows how to take on bigger defenders by using the proper angle.

"Coach always emphasizes really good picks," he said. "So our players set good picks and I get open. I use pump fakes, and I've been watching Derrick Rose and his windmill layups, where I can use the rim to keep my shot from being blocked."

Junior Rahmer Vincent said Fuller's craftiness on the court continues to amaze him.

"I don't know how he does it," Vincent said. "Usually you're not ready for him, and he'll pull up [in transition]."

"He's got a soft touch from all over the court," Nykorchuck said. "He wants to take the big shot. Shane is that kid that wants the ball in his hand late in the game."

Fuller is also a standout soccer player, leading the Hornets in goals.

Sacrifice is the one word that Nykorchuck wants his team to embrace.

Fuller sets a solid example of the benefits of sacrifice because, in between being a captain on two sports teams, Fuller still finds time to work a weekend job at The Gathering in Cheshire as a dishwasher.

Working weekends keeps Fuller away from friends, and cuts into his snowboarding time, but he carries his workman-like approach on and off the court.

"It sucks [working weekends] but hard work pays off," Fuller said. "It's nice getting a paycheck, too."

"Shane leads by example," Nykorchuck added. "The kids look up to him. ... He has so many good qualities in a team leader. His actions on and off the court do the talking."

Junior Justin Schneider said Fuller's competitiveness and work ethic is contagious. He said competing in practice against him raises the energy level of the whole team.

"I like playing with [Shane] because he always makes you want to beat him," he said. "It's always a challenge. ... 3-point shots or free throws, everything is a competition."

Fuller plays with a chip on his shoulder, but Nykorchuck said Fuller is very humble off the court. Nykorchuck added that he enjoys coaching all his players, but having a player like Fuller makes it that much more fun to show up every day.

"[Shane's got] great character," Nykorchuck said. "I don't have to worry about Shane off the court. ... He's a joy to coach."

To reach Akeem Glaspie:
aglaspie@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6252.
On Twitter: @THEAkeemGlaspie.