Buchholz nationally ranked tennis player joins head coach father at Florida
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Tennis is a big deal for the Shelton family. Bryan Shelton is the head men’s tennis coach at the University of Florida, one of the top teams in the country, his daughter Emma is a rising sophomore tennis star at South Carolina. Now, another Shelton will be headed to the SEC.
Ben a 5-star recruit will be going to UF, he was so ready to play in college that he’s going a year early.
Ben has been going to tennis courts since he was a toddler with his dad and sister. However, he also played basketball and football and was convinced tennis wasn’t his sport.
“He continually said, tennis is not my sport. He was proud that he was going to do something different.”
Ben eventually grew into liking it and became pretty good, he won a state title individually at Buchholz and excelled at the USTA level.
Shelton was also the 4th-ranked player in the 2021 recruiting class nationally.
Florida and Stanford were his top two choices, but Ben committed to UF in the fall and planned on starting in January 2021, but with COVID-19 he decided to go earlier.
“My dad was like since you’re doing nothing and sitting around, you might as well finish up school and you can come in August. I just thought it was really cool all the traditions they have at the University of Florida. It’s a great academic school.” Ben said.
“We certainly gave him direction on what was important for him to look into” Bryan added.
Many elite tennis players are homeschooled due to a rigorous schedule, but the Sheltons wanted their kids to have normal high school experience. Both Emma and Ben also got the chance to play on a school team, which prepared them for college.
“We thought it was important that our kids go to school to develop socially as well as with their tennis and academically " Coach Shelton said.
“I was able to gain friendships having school and tennis, it was important I got to play team tennis,” Ben said.
The Gators made it to the Final Four last year, but the pandemic ended their hopes of going back this year.
But when the gators get back on the court, Coach Shelton knows ben will be a great addition
“He’s a 6′2 strong physical athlete that plays tennis. People here in Gainesville are going to love watching him play for the Gators. He’ll bring the enthusiasm, fight, and competitive spirit. He’ll let his personality come out during competition It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
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