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Why has Kadin Shedrick been struggling?

Analyzing why the redshirt junior center has lost out on playing time over the last month.

North Carolina v Virginia Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

Virginia Cavaliers center Kadin Shedrick was a regular starter for much of last year and the first several games of this season. Then, in December, UVA went on a stretch in which they struggled offensively. Even still, very few of us traced it directly to Shedrick. However, Tony Bennett made a drastic switch in his rotations and implemented “small ball,” spreading the court with five shooters.

All of a sudden, Shedrick was not only demoted from a starting role but playing single digit minutes per night. The result of this decision has obviously been positive, with the Cavaliers currently holding a seven game winning streak and shooting the lights out.

Nonetheless, we wonder: can Shedrick still be useful in certain situations, especially when the defense struggles to make stops? It seems like his weaknesses have overridden his strengths.


One of the staples of the pack line defense is rebounding. When the defense is set in the half court, Virginia almost always has the advantage. Bennett’s teams have an extra emphasis on making sure that is the case. For that reason, it is crucial that they clear the glass and prevent second chance opportunities.

As it turns out, Shedrick is a poor rebounder for his size. Of the 50 qualified high major players who classify as “true centers,” he ranks 41st in defensive rebounding rate, according to Torvik. Even on Virginia, Ben Vander Plas, Armaan Franklin, and Jayden Gardner rank higher. In defensive rebounding rate, only Kihei Clark, Reece Beekman, and Isaac McKneely have lower rates than Shedrick among UVA’s scholarship players/ For the role that Shedrick plays, rebounding should be a primary aspect of his production.

Defending the Post

Over the last two games, Virginia has had uncharacteristic struggles in defending the interior. Syracuse shot 21-33 (63.6%) from two-point range. One would think that a known rim protector like Shedrick would be pivotal to reversing this trend. And, for what is worth, Shedrick is a great shot blocker.

The problem is his inability to match up against stronger bigs and slow them down. Very often, it turns into foul trouble as he tries to play with his hands and arms more than with body positioning, in which case, Bennett's decision of whether or not to limit his minutes becomes easy. Despite being seventh on the team in minutes played, Shedrick leads the team in fouls per game by a wide margin. He’s 94th of 94 qualifying players in the ACC in fouls per 40 minutes with 5.38.

Even when it comes to help defense on driving ball-handlers, Shedrick has a tendency to over help, which traces back to his low defensive rebounding rate.


Shedrick ultimately has his pros and cons defensively but it is this end of the court that hurts his case the most. As a result of UVA’s smaller lineup, their identity has become as a great three-point shooting team. In the calendar year of 2023, the Hoos have shot 41.1% from beyond the arc. And the triangle set has been more prevalent than the mover-blocker, in which the bigs could set pin down screens.

With Bennett's offense having a greater emphasis on spacing, Shedrick’s production is hindered. He is not much of a threat to pick and pop, and has been unable to consistently get open rolling to the basket either. Furthermore, he is not too much of a back to the basket post-up scorer. Shedrick is great at cleaning up around the rim and will get behind smaller defenses for the occasional alley-oop, as we saw at Syracuse. But with another true center on the court, his struggles are amplified and his strengths are neutralized.

The Bottom Line

Shedrick is very good in two specific areas: cleaning up around the rim on offense and protecting the rim on defense. However, his weaknesses become more prevalent in the style of basketball that has made Virginia most successful this year, which is largely why he has seen such a decrease in usage.

The team probably will need him to play better this season when the Wahoos come up against dominant centers such as Armando Bacot, Kyle Filipowski, or even PJ Hall. Whether he can rise to the challenge and avoid the foul trouble which has plagued him this season will be a significant determining factor for whether Virginia will win the ACC or not, and could have similar implications in postseason play. This isn’t to say he can’t reach that level, just that he hasn’t yet and thus has reasonably lost out on opportunities.