Player Spotlight: Nebraska F Shavon Shields
Since dropping their January 23rd, contest against the Nittany Lions in the Bryce Jordan Center, the Cornhuskers have won five of their last six games and are coming off a big road upset at No. 9 Michigan State.
Nebraska has climbed to 6-6 in conference play and has played well against some of the Big Ten’s top talent. Outside of sophomore Terran Petteway, who is second in the Big Ten in points per game, the Cornhuskers are getting big contributions from sophomore forward, Shavon Shields.
The 6’7”, 209-pound Shields has made his presence felt over Nebraska’s last few contests, putting up gaudy point totals and dominating on the boards. Before notching eight rebounds against the Spartans this past Sunday, Shields dropped a career-high 33 points against the Fighting Illini.
On the year, Shields is second on the team in points per game, averaging 12 points a contest, and is the team leader in rebounds per game with a 5.3 average.
In the Huskers last contest with Penn State, Shields showed his strength in the paint, pulling down 10 boards. The Nittany Lions, however, were able to limit the sophomore forward to only six points, one of his lowest point totals on the year.
Shields is a native of Olathe, Kan., and is the son of former Nebraska and Kansas City Chief football star Will Shields, who was selected to 12 Pro Bowls in his illustrious 14-year career.
Will Shields’ son would go on to be a standout basketball player at Olathe Northwest High School, where he played alongside now Kentucky forward Willie Cauley-Stein. As a senior, Shields averaged 21.2 points per game to go along with 8.5 rebounds.
Shields decided to attend his father’s alma mater and play basketball for the Cornhuskers. He played in 29 games as a true freshman and started in all but one Big Ten conference game.
In his first year, Shields averaged 9.2 points per game during conference play, seventh best among Big Ten freshmen, and 6.0 rebounds per game, second best among Big Ten freshmen. He became the first Nebraska basketball player since 2009 to be honored as a Big Ten Freshmen of the Week.
Shields spent part of last summer playing with the Denmark U-20 National Team, and helped lead that team to a 2013 Nordic Championship. In the championship game, he recorded a double- double, putting up 17 points, to go along with 12 rebounds.
The now sophomore forward has earned the respect of Husker head coach Tim Miles, who has helped revitalize the Nebraska basketball program. Despite being such a young player, his work ethic and maturation has allowed Shields to emerge as one of the leaders for Miles’ squad.
In the upcoming contest against the Nittany Lions, Shields will look to make up for a lackluster scoring performance and try to avenge the Cornhusker’s four-point loss in Happy Valley. Shields will look to find the shooting touch he had against Penn State last year, where he dropped 29 points on Pat Chambers’ squad.
Shields and the Nebraska Cornhuskers will defend their home court against the Nittany Lions this Thursday, at 7:00 p.m.
Andy Madore is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Courtesy: (AP Photo/Al Goldis)