How 5 LDS basketball stars from Lone Peak model success amid America's 'war on boys'

Published: Sunday, Feb. 2 2014 6:20 a.m. MST

A judge ruled his father's conduct at games caused "emotional distress," according to court documents, and issued a civil stalking injunction.

Many who work with boys today see a generation in which a lot of young men, especially those with absent fathers, lose their vision and drive.

"It just may be that boys growing up where fathers — and men more generally — appear superfluous confront an existential problem: Where do I fit in? Who needs me, anyway?" researcher Kay Hymowitz wrote in a Los Angeles Times op-ed article in November. "Boys see that men have become extras in the lives of many families and communities, and it can't help but depress their aspirations."

Boys with absent fathers can find it more difficult to set and achieve goals, but with his father gone, Shumway maintained ambitions that included college, sports and a church mission with the help of his mother, Cathy Shumway — "She knit my family together really well" — his teammates and others.

"The Lord really put some great men in my life," he says. "The dads of my friends, coaches, seminary teachers, people in my (LDS) ward. My bishop had a huge impact. The Lord seemed to say, 'There's things you need to learn,' and I've learned them from my grandpa, my sisters' husbands, all the men around me."

He has a deeply meaningful relationship with his older brother Colton. Separate from adults, he and his friends harbored the shared goal of winning a national championship ever since they had come close to an AAU title one summer.

Right now, Elder Shumway is driving himself to serve others. He has only played basketball twice in seven months. He lifts weights in his temporary apartment most mornings, but only for energy. He rarely thinks about the scholarship he has to play wide receiver for BYU when he gets home. He's too invested in his mission, in helping people like Castillo.

"You really come to love a lot of people," he says.

A leader

Shumway was 10 when he lost the 1-on-1 tournament at a summer basketball camp to Nick Emery. He burst out of the gym and into the hallway and was fuming when an arm came around his shoulder.

"Well," Quincy Lewis said, "at least you'll be playing together in high school."

Lone Peak's basketball coach was right; the boys started on the national title team.

Still just 42, Lewis has short red hair, a big heart and a demanding set of values. Emery has described him as "precise." Shumway once called it "OCD." Lewis distributes a handbook each season. It explains that his program demands goal-setting, effort and accountability. One page is devoted to John Wooden's legendary "Pyramid of Success," another to his own "Winner's Tree" of "Pinnacle effort," with entries about focus, reliability, enthusiasm and serenity.

"It's a book of blessings," Shumway says.

"Sacrifices must be made," Lewis wrote in last year's handbook. "Petty jealousies and differences must be eliminated."

"We were not worried about individual stats," says T.J. Haws, another starter on last year's team. Haws, whose own father played college and pro ball, is wrapping up his senior season at Lone Peak this month. He recently scored 40 points in a game to break Emery's year-old school record. Last year's other starter, Eric Mika, is starting at center for BYU as a college freshman this year. Like Shumway and Toolson, Emery is an LDS missionary now, in Frankfurt, Germany.

Chip Koop, Lone Peak's principal last year, said the team's talent and its "lack of internal conflict, or ego" were what made it special. Strong families and school support contributed. Lewis provided vision and opportunities. The players accepted responsibility for each other, too.