Momentum started to build almost from the day Haiishen McIntyre opened his account as a high school freshman. During his time at Harrisburg (Pa.) High the numbers surged and have continued to climb during his three years at High Point University.
Today McIntyre has nearly 27,000 Instagram followers. He is hopeful that with the help of a social media class he is taking this semester he could double that number before too long.
How has the junior guard done it?
“I would say primarily from playing basketball and being known around Pennsylvania,” said McIntyre, who was born in Philadelphia before moving to the state capital when he was eight. “Traveling through AAU got my name out there for basketball and really helped me gain many of the followers that I have.”
McIntyre, whose first name is pronounced ha-SHEEN, respects the whole social media realm and how strong of a platform something like his Instagram account can be.
“I know previously there were just things like Myspace, but now with IPhones and stuff like that there are so many outlets,” he said. “It has helped businesses as well as individuals get their careers out there and express what they want to do. For me, I promote myself and the team and show them what we do and how we do it on a daily basis. I think people really enjoy seeing that.”
McIntyre enjoys posting photos related to hoops, but he is also interested in fashion and has been known to dress for the occasion.
“I often post (photos of him dressed up) to let people know what is going on in my life,” he said. “I like to dress nice and maybe I could turn that into some kind of fashion business.”
Between his social media prowess and being a business administration major McIntyre seems to be combining the best of both worlds during his time at High Point, which is in North Carolina, about 75 miles west of Raleigh.
In the classroom he has been learning about business practices that could ultimately launch his Instagram account into a platform serving as a front door to career endeavors. Through the social media class he has been exposed to new ways he can expand his number of followers.
Such experiences have been critical in molding an academic career that has seen McIntyre earn Big South Presidential Honor Roll recognition as well as being among the school’s scholar-athlete award winners for maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA.
“Coach always preaches you’re not here just for basketball, you are here for academics as well,” he said of former North Carolina Tar Heels guard Scott Cherry, in his seventh season leading the Panthers. “I really have stayed on top of it every year since I have been here and coach always tells us if you have a good GPA then the team will have a good GPA. I am trying to do my part for my teammates and myself.”
McIntyre is doing his part on the hardwood as well. He has started most of High Point’s games this season and is averaging about 20 minutes of action. His 3.1 assists through 18 games led the team and he was among the squad’s leaders in steals while chipping in 4.8 points.
It all adds up to a young man who has a lot going for him as a student-athlete, and with a full plate of activity to manage. He credits Cherry and the program for helping with time management.
“Every year has been different, but since my freshman year I have found ways to handle everything,” said McIntyre, who describes himself as very vocal on the court and very laid back off it. “The program really helps you balance it out. We have a schedule every week that we need to stay on top of and it helps me and everybody else with managing time and things like that. It has been a process, but it has been a good process.”
While he has the remainder of this season and another year to go at High Point it is not too early to look a few years down the road. For McIntyre that could mean continuing his basketball career abroad, or parlaying his business and social media skills into a nice career.
“If I am not playing basketball overseas, which I hopefully will, I can have my own business in the works,” he said. “Or I could be working for a well-known company, a Fortune 500 company.”
However it shakes out the number of his Instagram followers will likely continue to swell.
Above: Haiishen McIntyre has proven to be a hit on the court and on social media for High Point. (Courtesy Brian Westerholt)