In the Virginia Cavaliers’ 68-52 beating of Coppin State, Kadin Shedrick impressed in relatively limited minutes as the redshirt sophomore recorded his first career double double with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks on the evening.
There was one sequence in particular when Shedrick came from the weak side to block a shot, dove into the crowd to save the ball from going out of bounds, and then grabbed an offensive rebound and flushed a dunk on the other end. That type of play is what is so exciting about Shedrick’s potential.
But, for Tony Bennett, some of that improved play and new-found aggressiveness actually came in Tuesday’s loss to Houston. “At the start of the second half of the Houston game he started grabbing some rebounds and got a little more active,” says Bennett. As Virginia’s head coach emphasizes, “this is all new for Kadin and you can see he’s getting more comfortable, that’s just going to happen over time even with his strength and his balance and all that.”
Now the Cavaliers’ consistent starter at center, Shedrick is averaging 7.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks per contest this season. After playing extremely limited minutes due to illness and injury last season and redshirting his first year, these four contests have been the Raleigh native’s first real opportunities to show what he can bring to the table.
Against Coppin State, he was all over the place. “I liked some of those plays he made and the energy he gave,” says Bennett. Of course, there’s still room for improvement as, although Bennett notes that “[Shedrick] shows in practices that he can catch [the ball] and score, he got it knocked out of his hands [a few times tonight.] So we’ll keep working on that.”
But, in a more immediate sense, Shedrick gives this team a level of athleticism, effort, and grit that is needed in the front court. “I liked his mobility and activity,” Bennett concludes regarding Shedrick’s performance in the win. “And, again, rim protection is very important to us,” he adds, referencing Shedrick’s three blocks on the night.
As this team looks to continue to grow and mesh together, Shedrick’s fast-tracked on-court development will be critical to track as he will continue to have the opportunity to grow into a larger and larger role for this squad.