Cody Gustafson is even-keeled threat for Shippensburg
It's no secret that the Gustafsons are known as a football family.
Brothers Tyler and Cody are the last two Public Opinion Football Players of the Year, and father Kevin has been a longtime football coach in Franklin County.
But the talents of Shippensburg senior Cody Gustafson don't conclude in the end zone.
While not much of an offensive threat on the court last year, Gustafson built upon his football success as the area's most consistent player this season. He is the Public Opinion Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
"Over the 25 years that I've coached, he probably had a better season as a point guard this year than any other point guard I've coached," Greyhound coach Ray Staver said. "To (average) 16 points, (4.91) assists and be as successful we were was pretty incredible."
What was most incredible about Gustafson's season, though, was his sheer consistency. He turned in a double-digit performance in every one of Ship's 24 games this year. He was held to 10 just twice. Gustafson's streak seemed in jeopardy during the Hounds' District 3 playoff game against Exeter Township, as he had scored just six points heading into the final frame. But he exploded for eight points in the final quarter.
"It was obviously pretty cool when I figured out that was the case," Gustafson said. "But for me, it was all about how we could win a given game and what I had to do that night to help us win."
Gustafson's role changed greatly this season. Last year, he played a true point guard role with the offensive threats of Wade Mills, Shuntan Hickman and Teagan Staver around him, but this year, much like the football season, Gustafson and Carter Van Scyoc had to shoulder much of the load.
Gustafson and Van Scyoc contributed 32.8 points per game, while the rest of the Greyhounds averaged 25.9 combined.
"Last year, with all those guys around me, I felt I needed to get them the ball and get them involved," Gustafson said. "In the spring, I knew I would have to take a bigger role in the scoring. But I've been playing basketball with a lot of the guys around the area and played that bigger scoring role, so I knew I could do it."
Staver said, "That capability has always been there, but this year, it was out of necessity. He stepped up when we needed it, and that was a big part of our success."
And luckily for Gustafson, he had a successful crew around him this season, as well. He, along with Van Scyoc, Adam Houser, Clayton Stine and Kyle Yost, were all part of the Greyhound football team that made a run to the District 3 Class 5A championship. Although it was hard to get basketball legs right away, that taste for victory certainly carried over.
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Gustafson was also tasked with guarding the opponent's best player and was a consistent threat defensively with 35 steals.
"Growing up, I always wanted to guard the best player on the other team," Gustafson said. "I take pride in defense. If someone is averaging 20 points, I want to hold them under 10.
"Although (my brother and I) were always three-sport athletes, football has always been our main priority. But I've loved basketball ever since I was a young kid, so it's really, really a great honor to get an accomplishment like this."
Cody Gustafson file
Position: Point guard
Parents: Kevin and Megan Gustafson
College: Cody is headed to Grove City College to play football.
Favorite teams: Los Angeles Lakers and Pittsburgh Steelers
Athlete most admired: Kobe Bryant
Favorite food: Shrimp
Pump-up song: "Whatever we got going in the locker room. (Kyle) Yost normally plays the tunes."
Statistics: Gustafson scored in double figures every single game this season ... He finished with an average of 16.0 points per game and shot 49 percent from the field and 73 percent from the line ... He also led the Greyhounds with 118 assists to go along with 35 steals, 52 deflections and 79 rebounds ... Gustafson was also named the 2016 Public Opinion Football Player of the Year.