Nebraska shooting guard Shavon Shields began his college career two years ago known primarily as the son of a legendary NFL player, but he has started to make a name for himself as a sophomore by helping his school reach the NCAA tourney for the 1st time since 1998. The Cornhuskers will have to bring their A-game when they face Baylor in San Antonio on Friday afternoon. CHD’s Jon Teitel sat down with Shavon to talk about his famous father and a high school teammate who will also be making his tourney debut on Friday.
Why did you choose to attend Nebraska? I really liked the facilities and academic support during my visit and I felt the program was on the rise.
You play for Coach Tim Miles: what makes him such a good coach, and what is the most important thing that you ever learned from him? His enthusiasm and energy that he brings every day: he cares about the program and about us. He taught us to always stay positive: if we make a mistake, we just look ahead to the next play.
You faced several fellow tourney teams in non-conference play this year (UMass, Creighton, Cincy), which of them impressed you the most? They were all really early in our season during November and December and all three of them took it to us. I cannot single any one of them out: all three are great teams.
You lost five of your first six Big 10 games before winning 10 of your final 12 to finish the regular season. What went wrong in January, and how have you been able to turn things around since then? We all had our own agendas and were playing selfishly and were not on the same page, but we all came together in February which allowed us to make a great run.
You led your team this year with 5.8 rebounds per game despite being a 6’7” guard. What is your secret for being a great rebounder? I honestly do not know: I just try to box out and grab the ball when it comes off the rim.
Terran Petteway led your team in scoring this year, how crucial is he to your team’s success? He is the guy that a lot of us look up to, and when he is going well our entire team is going well.
This is your school’s first trip to the tourney since 1998. What has the atmosphere been like around campus this week? I am a low-key guy who walks around with my hood up and headphones on so I do not always notice everything around me, but it seems like we are getting a lot more requests for photos than we did last year!
One of your Olathe Northwest High School teammates was current Kentucky forward Willie Cauley-Stein. How good a player was he back in the day, and what do you think about the fact that the three biggest teams from your home state all made the NCAA tourney again this year? He was a really good player: super-athletic and a great defender. I congratulate all three Kansas teams…but I am at Nebraska now so I am mostly glad that we made it.
Your dad Will made 12 consecutive Pro Bowl appearances as a guard for the Kansas City Chiefs. How much of an influence has he been on your life, and when is the NFL finally going to vote him into the Hall of Fame?! My parents are the biggest influences on my life and literally made me the kid I am today. I do not know when the writers will vote him in but the people who really care about him know that he is a Hall of Famer.
What do you think about your #11 seed, and what kind of home-court advantage do you think Baylor will have when playing you in San Antonio? I am stoked that we got a #11 seed and we are just happy to be in the tourney after sitting on the bubble for most of the last month. I am sure that Baylor will have a lot of fans in San Antonio so I just hope that a lot of our fans can make it down there because I know we are ready to go.