Bishop signs basketball letter at CMU

Chris Bowie
New Franklin graduated senior Gavin Bishop became the newest member of the Central Methodist men's basketball team after signing a national letter of intent Monday at the high school. On hand during the signing were (front row, left to right) Jonah Bishop, Wayne Bishop, Gavin Bishop and Michelle Bishop. (back row, left to right) New Franklin head coach Ross Dobson, CMU head coach Jeff Sherman, CMU assistant coach Matt Sherman and Tanner Bishop.

New Franklin senior Gavin Bishop knew there was something missing.

Although the Bulldogs had one of their best seasons in decades by finishing 27-2 overall, Bishop still felt something wasn’t right after the 2019-20 season.

Of course it didn’t help that the senior graduate and valedictorian of his class lost his final season in baseball due to COVID-19.

But Bishop was still missing basketball. That is until he got off the couch and didn’t something about it by sending a e-mail to Central Methodist men’s basketball coach Jeff Sherman.

“I was sitting at home and I was like you know I want to prove to myself that I can do it,”Bishop said of playing college basketball. “I don’t know why I waited so long. I should have done it at the beginning. I don’t know how to explain it. I knew I should be doing it so Iam like I’m doing it and I am going to do it.”

Doing it was the best thing for both Bishop and CMU as it turns out. Bishop signed a national letter of intent in front of family and friends Monday at New Franklin High School.

Bishop said his favorite color is blue but that he looks real good in green.

“I’m really excited,”Bishop said. “I really didn’t look at any other colleges because at the time I was going to attend Mizzou. But I chose CMU because they are closer and everyone around here knows who Iam so they can come and watch me play anytime, so that’s pretty cool, too.”

Sherman said it was a pleasant surprise when Bishop contacted him about possibility playing for the Eagles.

“Gavin contacted us about a month ago to see if we would still be interested,” Sherman said. “I think most of it was because during the season we were kind of looking around but at the time he really wasn’t in the mind set to maybe go on and play college ball. But when he e-mailed us and said he wanted to play, we said yes.

“No. 1 it’s not just that he wants to play basketball because he’s a good basketball player, but he was top in his class, too. My only question is am Igoing to be smart enough coach that is going to be able to help him reach his full potential. All seriousness aside, I think we are getting a very good player but also an awfully good young man that is going to represent our program. He is going to represent us so well both on and off the court.”

A four-year starter in basketball for the Bulldogs, Bishop definitely had the kind of season that only some players can dream of after being selected MVP in the Central Activities Conference for the 2019-20 season. The senior standout also earned all-district for the second straight year not to mention he was all-state in Class 2 and academic all-state. He was also named to the KRES All-Star Team and KMZU Dream Team.

Bishop also had his season this past year while averaging 18.6 ppg along with 7.8 rpg and 2.7 apg. He also shot 56 percent from two point range, 33 percent from the three-point arc and 76.2 percent from the foul line.

New Franklin coach Ross Dobson, who coached Bishop the last two seasons, said Gavin has really set the tone of what is expected as a leader.

“Gavin really showed that this last year as a senior and he has kind of grown into his role,” Dobson said. “His freshman year, he started playing a lot after Christmas and started as a sophomore, junior and senior and earned all-state, academic all-state and valedictorian. He definitely set the tone of what is expected in the classroom and on the floor. He’s worked his tail off and he is always up here shooting and never misses anything. This is my first player to sign so it is kind of good to see him sign as my first one.”

Although it has yet to be determined what position Bishop will play in college, Sherman said it’s more than likely that he will play one of the off-guard spots.

Bishop said he will play anywhere the coaches tell him to play.

“I just want to do what I can for the program and help them win and improve on anything I can,”Bishop said. “I will do what they tell me to do. I’m just excited to play and be part of something bigger than myself. I know I will have to improve on my footwork and ballhandling in college. I also want to be quicker.”

Bishop was definitely part of something big this past season. Along with finishing 27-2 on the season and advancing to sectionals, Bishop also helped guide the Bulldogs to back to back district titles. But the biggest highlight for him personally was scoring his 1,000th point against Brunswick on the same night as teammate Tyler Perkins.

But make no mistake, Bishop would gladly give up all his accolades to play for a state title.

“That still bothers me,”Bishop said of not getting to the Final Four. “I think that’s why I still had the desire to play basketball. I felt something missing. I really wanted to get there. I also think the whole closing thing with school and just being shut off abruptly did not settle with me.”

Dobson said he feels Bishop has an opportunity to do well at the college level. He said Bishop will probably start off JV and then hopefully build up from there.

“I think his shooting will help him at the next level, especially if he has other good athletes around him,”Dobson said. “It’s going to be a little change of pace. College kids are also a little bigger and stronger, so he’s really going to have to come to play every day even at practice. However, his ballhandling helps him out. He’s probably a combo guard at the college level and defensively he is probably one of the best, and he is very intelligent. It’s a good addition to CMU. I’m glad he stayed local because it will give me something to go up there for. Gavin definitely has a bright future ahead and hopefully he sticks it out and I like to see where he is at in four years.”

Even though he is just 10 miles away, Bishop said he will miss the community and playing with his friends.

“Ialso owe a lot to my family, grandparents and brothers,”Bishop said. “They always pushed me and challenged me.”

Sherman, too, feels like the Eagles got lucky in signing Bishop. He said the timing worked out.

“I think it’s going to be a nice situation for the both of us,”Sherman said. “We are really excited. Ijust like his enthusiasm right now, but I think how it worked out with the e-mail might have been the best thing.”