With FOUR (wheeeee!!!) days left until basketball season tips off, it’s time to take a look at a player who should be a major contributor this season. Marial Shayok, now in his third season in Charlottesville, has the opportunity to step up and account for some of the scoring that the Hoos lost with the departure of Malcolm Brogdon.
As a first year, Shayok - who was born in Ottawa, Ontario - saw action in all 34 games for Virginia. He averaged 14.6 minutes per game, and scored 3.8 points and 1.8 rebounds per game, shooting 40.5% from the field and 38% from three-point land.
Last season, Shayok played in 35 of Virginia’s 37 games, starting eight of them. He averaged about the same amount of minutes with 15 per game, but upped his shooting percentages to 49.2% from the field and 43.6% from three. His point production increased slightly to 4.3 points per game, while his rebounding stayed constant. One issue in Shayok’s shooting game is his struggle at the free throw line. Affectionately dubbed the “Shayok Split”, he frequently went one-for-two from the line, which is reflected in his 54% average from the charity stripe.
I anticipate Shayok getting the starting nod from Coach Bennett, and he is one of the role players on this squad that has a real chance for a breakout season. In the Pepsi Blue-White scrimmage, Shayok hit a couple really nice floaters and drained a three. He has a shooters touch, but can sometimes look out of sorts on the court when it comes to control. His first year he had some lost fast break opportunities, but he definitely improved his decision making in his second year.
Shayok’s two best games last season were at Wake and against Butler in the NCAA tournament. In Virginia’s improbable comeback against the Demon Deacons, Shayok was 4-4 in the game with 10 points, including a late three-pointer that kept the Hoos alive. Against Butler, Shayok had 12 points, 10 of which came in the second half as UVA overcame a two-point halftime deficit.
This season, I’m curious to see how Marial contributes. He’s strong defensively and has ridiculously long arms that can disrupt passes. Last season, he was second on the team in shooting percentage from three, behind only London Perrantes. His high dribble still makes me completely uneasy when he handles the ball (much like Justin Anderson did back a couple years ago), but he’s a guy that can really help diminish the loss of offense that graduated with Brogdon, Anthony Gill, and Mike Tobey.
Shayok is a quiet guy who doesn’t receive much attention off the court in terms of media. He has a chance to change that this season. The ceiling for Shayok is high.
Most: Misspelled name. THERE’S NO C IN IT, Y’ALL. S-H-A-Y-O-K.