It’s common for recruits to use the phrase “it feels like home” after visiting a college they feel a close connection to. But when Drew Sleva speaks about his bond with Shippensburg University, the line is kind of literal. The school has always been sort of a home away from home.
“When I was younger, I made it to just about every game. My family would get a hotel, and I would stay in the dorms with the players,” said Sleva, a senior at Chartiers Valley High School.
Added Sleva, “I’ve been around that university since I was 10 years old. It’s always been close to me. It’s a great school, and it’s family to me, obviously. It just feels like home.”
Soon, Shippensburg will become Sleva’s actual home. Sleva, a 6-foot-1 guard, recently committed to play at Shippensburg. Sleva was receiving interest from other Division II programs and had a few offers from Division III schools, but he decided to follow in the footsteps of his two brothers — Dustin and Dom — both of whom rank among the top players in Shippensburg history.
The Sleva family and Shippensburg basketball have been intertwined for close to a decade. Dustin and Dom not only played there but also were stars. Dustin, 27, is the school’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder, and a former PSAC Men’s Basketball Athlete of the Year and Division II All-American who now plays professionally in Germany. Dom, 24, last month put the wraps on an excellent career for the Raiders that saw him being named first-team all-PSAC and the Eastern Division Defensive Player of the Year.
And now another Sleva with the first initial “D” will try to put together an “A” career at Shippensburg. “I always saw myself playing there,” said Drew, who will also play for the same coach (Chris Fite) as his brothers.
“I think that’s cool,” Chartiers Valley coach Brandon Sensor said of Drew following his brothers’ lead. “I know he’s happy. He knows most of the people up there. It’s almost like a family atmosphere. He’s been going there for how long now to see his brothers? It feels like home now. I’m happy for him. He’ll get to learn a lot, play for a really good program and get a good education.”
Drew Sleva is outstanding on the court and in the classroom. This past season, he averaged 13 points a game for a Chartiers Valley team that finished 15-7. He connected on six 3-pointers among his career-high 32 points in a 71-63 win Dec. 27 at Hampton. Sleva also has a 4.4 GPA, which puts him among the top students in his class. He’s also already started what he hopes to be a long career in coaching, as he’s directing a seventh grade AAU team this spring.
“I think his best thing is his shooting ability,” Sensor said. “He puts in a ton of time working on it.”
While big brothers Dustin and Dom Sleva — Dustin is 6-8 and Dom 6-6 — were high school standouts at Montour, Drew spent his freshman and sophomore years at Montour before moving into the Chartiers Valley school district prior to his junior year.
Dustin has had an outstanding career internationally. Upon leaving Shippensburg, where he scored 2,071 career points and 1,140 rebounds, Dustin played four seasons in Paris before joining Basketball Löwen Braunschweig of the German Bundesliga this season. Dustin also played a few games for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Summer League last year. Drew said Dom is considering a professional career, as well. This past season, Dom averaged 13.1 points and a PSAC-leading 12 rebounds per game, and his 16 double-doubles tied for first nationally. He finished his career with 1,176 points.
Dom Sleva was among six former WPIAL players at Shippensburg this past season, the others being Luke Nedrow (Central Catholic), Carlos Carter (Indiana), Andrew Recchia (Mars), Michael Dunn (Trinity) and Markus Frank (Quaker Valley). Carter was selected PSAC Eastern Division Athlete of the Year
A day before calling Fite to let him know he was committing, Drew Sleva said he reached out to his brothers to let them know of his intentions. As you might expect, it went over pretty well.
“They were excited. I thanked them for everything they have done for me and for letting me be a part of their journey,” said Drew, who also has two younger sisters (Gracyn, 16, and Elly, 15).
Drew Sleva’s journey will soon continue at a familiar place, and that is something he said brings him a lot of pride.
“It means everything,” Drew said. “They’re my role models. Me being able to go where they went, it means so much.”
Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at email@example.com.