Edward Little’s John Shea shoots against Oxford Hills’ Colby Dillingham during the Class AA North championship in Portland in February. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

John Shea overpowered opponents with his aggressive play and imposing stature for the Edward Little High School basketball team.

He was the Red Eddies’ brawny 6-foot-6 powerhouse inside the key when it came to scoring and rebounding — and moving him out of the way took a steam shovel.

Shea put together an impressive senior season in 2021-22.

He helped the Red Eddies produce an 18-3 record, earn the top seed in Class AA North, and reach the regional final — where they lost to Oxford Hills, a team the Eddies beat twice during the regular season, in what was voted the Varsity Maine Boys Game of the Year.

Shea’s statistics were, perhaps, even more impressive. He scored 30 or more points eight times and finished the season averaging 26 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.

“My mentality is to just go battle,” Shea told the Sun Journal after he was named the Sun Journal’s All-Region Boys Basketball Player of the Year the past March. “In my head, no one in the state can guard me, and I feel confident in saying that, especially with the numbers I put up this year. It has to do with my teammates. They just put me in positions for me to score. Not a lot of teams know how to play post defense, but we know how to run a post offense. They’re the ones getting me open.”


Edward Little boys basketball coach Mike Adams said he always had a great deal of faith in Shea.

“It’s been fun to work with him, and he’s always taken the coaching well,” Edward Little coach Mike Adams told the Sun Journal. “He’s always seen the big picture of everything we’ve done. I’m glad we’ve had the relationship we’ve had, and I’m excited to see him at the next level. I know he’s going to do well because he’s a good person.”

Edward Little senior John Shea with head coach Mike Adams after Shea scored his 1,000th career point in a Jan. 28 game against Scarborough in Auburn. RAM Sport Photography

Shea also earned the Mr. Basketball Award — becoming the second Edward Little player to receive the award — and committed to play for the University of Maine’s men’s basketball team.

In late January, Shea dropped in his 1,000th career point against Scarborough, joining an exclusive club that includes Troy Barnies, the Red Eddies’ other Mr. Maine Basketball winner, and Wol Maiwen, as the only three 1,000th-point scorers in the Edward Little boys basketball program’s history.

“I am really proud of him,” Adams told the Sun Journal. “He’s been in our summer camp since he was in elementary school. In the summer time he’s at every single thing that we do. That’s not easy, nor is it fun sometimes. When it’s July and they’re wrecking you with their workouts, that’s not fun when your friends are sleeping or at a beach. John never missed those.”

All that hard work paid off for the rugged forward in the end.


In December 2021, Shea tied Barnies’ school record of 44 points in one game in a victory over Hampden Academy.

“We were able to really make a big effort to just pound the inside to John, and he did a great job of showing for the ball and finishing it and, I mean, he’s a very strong player and he did that,” Adams said after that game.

Having the opportunity to play for the Black Bears, an NCAA Division I team, just might be the highlight of Shea’s successful high school basketball career.

“I’m pretty excited,” Shea, who also played a year of football at Edward Little and participated in track and field for two years, told the Sun Journal. “… I’m really excited to get after it with the guys. Division I basketball has always been the goal, and to play for the home state of Maine and help turn this program around is pretty special.”

Shea has yet to play for UMaine this season and earlier this month underwent hip surgery.


Editor’s note: The top 10 area sports stories of 2022 were voted on by the Sun Journal sports staff.

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