In the months leading up to the 2015-16 college basketball season, BTPowerhouse will be releasing a new series called the 'BTPowerhouse 25,' which features the Top 25 players in the Big Ten as voted by members of the staff. All players set to be on Big Ten rosters for next season were eligible during the staff vote with their top selection receiving 25 points and their 25th and final selection receiving 1 point.
Today's edition will take a brief look at Shavon Shields of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, who came in at #18 in the rankings. Though many have focused on Terran Petteway and what his departure means for the Huskers, few have focused on Shields, who very well could have been Nebraska's biggest contributor last season. With Shields likely taking the main role on Nebraska for 2015-16, he could be set for a big year as he tries to get the Huskers back into the postseason.
'BTP 25' - #18 Shavon Shields
- Eligibility: Senior
- Career Totals: 91 games, 2,940 minutes, 1,127 points, 514 rebounds, 143 assists
- 2014-15 Averages: 35.3 min, 15.4 pts, 6.0 rebs, 2.2 asts, 0.2 blks, 1.1 stls
- Positional Role: Small Forward
Though Shields has a great number of strengths, its his interior play that really makes him a dynamic player. To start, not only is he one of the better players at getting to the free throw line, but his 82.7% free throw shooting percentage makes him even more dangerous. Though he only shot 51.6% from 2PT range last season, offensively, Shields does his work inside the 3PT line. On top of this, Shields is also a solid rebounder, especially considering that he largely plays on the wing. In fact, he had one of the highest defensive rebounding rates on Nebraska's team last season. Finally, Shields is a solid defender that does a decent job of forcing opponents into bad shots and creating turnovers.
Areas for Improvement
The single biggest area for improvement with Shields is his outside shot. He has never attempted a ton of shots from long range, but he has declined in 3PT percentage during each season and shot an underwhelming 19.5% last year. Shields does at least avoid shooting too much from outside, but considering that he was still third on the team in attempts from 3PT range and uses a ton of the team's possessions, it has to be concerning. If he is going to be such a large part of the offense and play on the wing for portions of the game, improvement in this area is needed. Along with this, though he was one of the more efficient players on Nebraska's roster last season, the Huskers were not a great offense. Improving his shot selection could also go a long way toward helping his performance as well.
There's little doubt that Shields will have to expand his role with Petteway and Pitchford out the door, but one has to wonder how many extra possessions Shields can realistically take without hurting his efficiency too much. He was already second on the team in usage last season and though he was pretty productive, if some of the newcomers like Glynn Watson and Andrew White III are not quite ready to take large roles in the offense, it's not hard to see Shields being forced into taking too much. Overall, Shields should get into the 3rd team All-Big Ten or Big Ten Honorable Mention discussion, but it's hard to see him jumping to that All-Big Ten level without either massively improving his outside shooting or with some more proven options alongside him. Regardless, Shields should be a major part of Nebraska's team and their goal of reaching the postseason once again.