Thursday, January 17, 2013
Shephard's breakthrough game
By Matt Giles
When Winston Shepard committed to San Diego State, the wing was regarded as a high-major prospect who was going to play extended minutes for coach Steve Fisher. The thought was that the extremely athletic and skilled Shepard would dominate other forwards in the Mountain West conference, but through thirteen games (he missed SDSU's initial three games), Shepard's numbers did not match his expectations. Shepard used just 41 percent of the Aztecs' minutes, and he wasn't a large part of the squad's offensive repertoire. He only attempted 49 two-point field goals, converting only 37 percent of those attempts, and he generated much of his offense by using one of the team's best fouls drawn per 40 minutes rates (per Ken Pomeroy).
But against UNLV, Shepard had what some will deem his breakout game; Fisher used a smaller lineup against the Rebels, and Shepard (along with Jamaal Franklin) was along to exploit UNLV's size and cut repeatedly past defenders and get into the lane for easy buckets. Shepard scored 18 points in the loss, and perhaps the freshman can use the game to gain in confidence as conference play continues. One interesting facet of his performance was his twelve free throw attempts; no player on either of the two teams went to the stripe as many times as Shepard, and his ability to get easy points from the stripe -- he normally shoots 55 percent from the line -- is worth monitoring.