Shedrick gives Virginia athletic potential in lane

By Kenneth Cross
Jerry Correspondent

Photo: UVA Athletics

Jayden Gardner scored 26 points to lead Virginia in the Cavaliers’ 72-45 win over Maryland Eastern Shore on Friday, but Kadin Shedrick once again proved that he is becoming a high-quality player in the post on both ends of the floor as he displayed a myriad of activities to push Virginia forward.

After going 6 for 6 in last week’s win over Baylor in Las Vegas, Shedrick had a perfect shooting night again in going 4 for 4 with 13 points in Friday night’s win over the Hawks of the MEAC.

Shedrick joined Gardner as he scored four points and the two combined for the first 10 as the Cavaliers grabbed what became an insurmountable 10-2 lead just four minutes into the game. 

The duo had mismatches all evening as Gardner dominated in the paint and Shedrick implemented with an alley-oop from guard Kihei Clark just two and a half minutes into the contest.

“I think it just came naturally where we should be able to get buckets inside,” explained Shedrick. “That’s kind of where our guards came out and helped us get the ball inside.”

Clark had eight of the Cavaliers’ 18 assists as he was able to help continually set up Shedrick and Gardner with his consistent play on the perimeter.

For Shedrick, this was an issue of confidence and finding himself in a position to playmake as a scorer inside. 

“It feels a lot different than a year ago – the locker room and all of that – so I think we are learning a lot about ourselves,” Shedrick said. 

Shedrick scored four points on a lengthy Virginia run to start the second half as they turned a 40-25 lead out of halftime into a 58-34 advantage with 12:19 remaining in the game. 

He and Gardner combined for 12 of the 18 points in that stretch as they were able to take advantage of their athleticism and size in what turned out to be another decisive run.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett discussed the solid overall play of Shedrick as he is able to use his athleticism and basketball skills to make solid plays for the Cavaliers. 

“Be so active and so relentless on the glass doing things,” Bennett said of Shedrick’s approach. “I think that his length and athleticism make him so good at blocking shots, blowing up ball screens, and getting them on the glass.”

Shedrick has made 17 of 23 shots in these first five games (74 percent from the field and 85 percent from the free-throw line) as his athleticism inside has become an issue for whomever Virginia is playing. He is tied for the lead in rebounding at 5.2 per game and he has eight of Virginia’s 18 blocked shots, while averaging 11.2 points per game.

“He’s improving and it was good to see him take these steps and he has got to keep knocking because that’s what all the guys do,” explained Bennett.

Shedrick was a key last season as he started 19 of 35 games and played 20.8 minutes. He was the Cavaliers second-leading rebounder with 5.1 while shooting 64.1 percent for the season. 

The big story for Shedrick is his hands and how he has totaled 10 steals, which is one behind steals leader Reece Beckman (11) through these first five contests.

“I have known I have good hands while I am active,” explained Shedrick. “I have long arms and I can disrupt things and knock the ball away.”

Shedrick has a ton of potential in so many basketball realms that he is obviously one of the top players on the team that will translate to others’ scouting reports.

“I have been playing with active hands and using my long arms and it has worked so far,” said Shedrick. “Hopefully, it keeps working.”