Ty-Shon Pannell refuses to be measured by any number he doesn’t create himself.
Although listed at 5-9, the Central Islip guard plays with a tenacity far beyond his height. He will both attack the basket and pull up from nearly any spot on the court — unafraid to create contact or a deep shot and refusing to shy away from the key moment.
“It always gives me a chip on my shoulder,” Pannell said. “A lot of people say I’m too small or too weak, so in my game, I always just think ‘Heart over height.’ I'm not afraid of anybody, I don't care how tall or strong you are.”
And the results speak for themselves as Pannell enters Thursday as Suffolk’s second-leading scorer, at 29.1 points per game. He’s scored at least 36 points in four games, including a season-high 38 points against a 12-0 Brentwood team, despite facing constant double teams and extra attention from opposing teams thoughout the season.
“He welcomes it,” coach Jim Mott said. “He looks in their eyes and if that’s what you’re going to do, he’s ready...He understands and he just attacks it like he attacks the game, with a ferocity that makes him the scorer and player he is.”
Mott even said there are moments on the sideline when he and his assistant just sit in awe of Pannell’s on-court abilities. Pannell constantly has the ball in his hands and controls the offense, creating shots for himself and others, with nearly limitless range.
“He’s done things that we’ve never seen with the shots he’s made,” Mott said. “And you just sit back and you appreciate what he’s doing this year.
“Truth be told,” Mott added, “he’s a little greater when that round object is in his hand. That’s when he perks up.”
And Pannell isn’t afraid to shoot from anywhere on the court. He said he practices “unorthodox” shots, including off-balanced shots, pull ups from half court and nearly anywhere else on the floor to develop a muscle memory and a feel for difficult shots in a game.
“My goal every day is to get at least 500 shots up,” Pannell said. “If it’s more than that, it’s great, but I’m in the gym every day.”
Although saying he takes pieces from different superstars’ games, such as James Harden, Allen Iverson and Steph Curry, Pannell said he isn’t trying to be like anybody else. Instead, he wants to be the “first version of myself.”
“I’m just trying to prove it doesn’t matter how small you are, how strong you are, as long as you leave your heart on the court, that’s all that matters and the pieces will fall where they may,” Pannell said. “But I just look to prove everybody who says I’m too small, I just try to prove them wrong.”