SJ featured as Spotlight Athlete on Unshamed Athletes

Sean “SJ” Tuohy, Loyola University, Basketball

By: John Van vilet

Spotlight Athlete Archive

The Blind Side was released in 2009 to wide critical acclaim. The heartwarming story of family, love and support spoke volumes to audiences everywhere. What stood out most to people was the relationship between Michael Oher and little Sean Tuohy Jr., better known as SJ. SJ befriends Michael while at school, and the story goes on from there. Everyone remembers the spry and witty little SJ becoming Michael’s best friend, brother and recruiting spokesman – “Coach, help me, help you.”

SJ is now a redshirting freshman point guard for the Loyola University Greyhounds basketball team. As shown in the movie, SJ is full of positive energy. He is a point guard both on and off the court, encouraging others to simply enjoy the time they have playing their sport. SJ talked with Unashamed Athletes about his upbringing in a Christian home, his walk with the Lord and what he learned from big brother Michael, who is the starting right tackle for the Baltimore Ravens:

SJ played three sports at Briarcrest Christian High School in Memphis, but it would be basketball that he chose to pursue. SJ earned the opportunity to play basketball at Loyola University.

“It’s funny how the Lord works,” he said. “I actually had quit AAU basketball my sophomore year. I thought baseball was going to be a better opportunity for me. As an undersized white guy, you’d think baseball would be there. But I know basketball better than my back hand.”

Through the help of his high school basketball coach putting in a good word to him to Loyola University coach Jimmy Patsos, he earned a scholarship to continue to be the great assisting point guard that he is. He is the all time assists record holder at his high school with 401.

Playing point guard certainly holds a spotlight on a team, much like the quarterback in football. But SJ has always been someone who is glad to be a facilitator. His favorite verse and one he lives by is John 3:30, which says “He must become greater; I must become less.”

“As a point guard I have always been a huge assist guy. I have always liked that verse. If I can make others greater than myself, it helps me in my walk with the Lord.”

SJ acknowledges the release of The Blind Side has brought some level of notoriety to him and his family. With Michael playing for the Baltimore Ravens and the release of the movie, some cool perks has come his way. But verses like John 3:30 and his upbringing in a strong Christian home has helped keep him grounded in his faith and maintain his giving lifestyle.

“It gives you a foundation in knowing where you come from. It helped me a lot because it gave me a lot of opportunities to come to Christ at a young age. I would like think I would have come to Christ either way, but you have your family helping you work your faith at such a young age.”

One of the biggest things that SJ has learned from Michael is to just enjoy time he has with sports.

“He has impacted my life as a role model,” SJ said, “he does things the right way. Athletically speaking, I saw how much fun he had. Even if he had played bad, of course he did not like it, but he left it there, he walked off the court with the right attitude. He worked so hard and pushed himself so hard. No matter what happened, he was Michael Oher the person, not Michael Oher the left tackle for the Ravens.”

   Through his own experiences as well, SJ learned how to enjoy playing sports and to keep a positive attitude. He encourages Christian athletes to simply have fun in playing sports and interacting with your teammates, no matter how good or how bad things are going.

“The thing with sports is that if God is in what you are doing, then you can’t really complain. We are here for such a short time, I would tell other Christian athletes to keep pressing forward. You have to think about what is important to you. For me, I am in college for five years, but I will be in heaven for a bazillion. Even if things are going bad, keep pressing on in the Lord and God will work through that.”

SJ is studying Journalism Communication at Loyola, pursuing his love to write. The Loyola Greyhounds are currently 11-5 on the season, 3-1 in the MAAC conference.