Published Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:36 pm / Updated at 10:53 pm
BASKETBALL
Into the flow, NU's Shields puts on a show
Illinois at Nebraska
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Devaney Center, Lincoln
TV: BTN
Radio: 1110 AM KFAB

Nebraska (10-9, 1-5)
C Andre Almeida, 6-11, Sr., 5.9
F Shavon Shields, 6-6, Fr., 7.9
F David Rivers, 6-7, So., 5.8
G Dylan Talley, 6-5, Sr., 12.9
G Ray Gallegos, 6-2, Jr., 13.2

Illinois (14-5, 1-4)
C Nnanna Egwu, 6-11, So., 6.2
F Sam McLaurin, 6-8, Sr., 3.7
G Tracy Abrams, 6.1, So., 11.9
G D.J. Richardson, 6-3, Sr., 10.8
G Brandon Paul, 6-4, Sr., 18.2

LINCOLN — Practice never truly makes perfect, but it sure has helped Nebraska's Shavon Shields get better.

The 6-foot-6 freshman from Olathe, Kan., recently polished his game well enough to earn Big Ten rookie of the week honors Monday ahead of Tuesday's home matchup against Illinois (14-5, 1-4).

Last week, in a home loss to Purdue, Shields had a career-high 18 points and eight rebounds. In a win at Penn State, the son of former Husker football All-American Will Shields produced another career high — 29 points — with six rebounds and three steals.

Shields, who won't turn 19 until June, had no chance to post such numbers earlier this season.

Injuries took care of that.

First, he suffered a ruptured bursa sac in his elbow. After an infection developed, he needed surgery that sidelined him for three weeks. When finally cleared to play, he jammed his wrist and missed more time.

Overall, Shields sat out five of NU's first six games, and was sidelined for a lot of drill work in October and November.

“It was just one thing after another for him,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said Monday. “Finally, in the last month, he's had consistent practice, and I think that's showing.

“He's coming out and playing just a little better every game. And last week he was freshman of the week in the Big Ten, and probably could have been player of the week.”

Shields said he learned of his honor when some friends texted him Monday morning.

“It's cool,” he said. “But big picture we need to start winning a couple of games in the Big Ten.”

Putting injuries behind him will help Shields try to help Nebraska (10-9, 1-5).

“My confidence was really lacking early,” he said. “It was just injury after injury after injury.”

Miles noticed the downtime was wearing on Shields mentally, so he met with him individually after the Big Ten opener at Ohio State.

“I was over-thinking things,” Shields said. “Offensively and defensively, I was just kind of 'there.'

“He said, 'I believe in you,' and things like that, and that I need to keep with it and get confident and start attacking everything you do.”

In high school, Shields scored 1,068 points in three seasons at Olathe Northwest, averaging about 15 points a game.

Miles, who was hired in March and didn't recruit Shields, said he didn't know how much of a point-producer he could be.

“You never know how freshmen are going to come out and if they are going to be able to score,” the coach said. “He's done it in a variety of ways — made some 3s, found a way to get fouled, makes floaters, scores inside a little. He's really done a great job for us.”

ĽNOTES: Brandon Ubel suffered no ill effects to his injured elbow after playing 31 minutes at Penn State. ... The last time Nebraska had a conference rookie of the year was Toney McCray in the Big 12 in the 2008-09 season. ... Tickets are available for as little as $10.

Contact the writer:

402-444-1024, lee.barfknecht@owh.com

Contact the writer: Lee Barfknecht

lee.barfknecht@owh.com    |   402-444-1024    |  

Lee Barfknecht has won nine national writing awards from four separate organizations, and is a 12-time winner of the Nebraska sportswriter of the year award. He covers Big Ten football and basketball, Nebraska basketball and other college financial issues for The World-Herald.

Read more related stories
PHOTO GALLERY AND VIDEO »

 

< >
SPOTLIGHT »
2013 college football preview
View our 2013 college football preview, a 26-page, three-part section filled with coverage of the Huskers, Big Ten conference and more.
Big Red Bowl Retrospective
See complete historical results, game recaps and photo coverage from the Nebraska Cornhuskers college football bowl game appearances, from the 1941 Rose Bowl up to today.
Big Ten football recruits
The World-Herald's Big Ten recruiting database contains every football recruit that signed with a Big Ten school from 2002 to 2011, complete with color-coded interactive map representations, player information, high-concentrations recruiting clusters and more.
Devaney Center timeline
Check out a World-Herald timeline to see the evolution of memorable moments at the Devaney Center, complete with photos, videos, memorable quotes and more.
Follow OWHbigred on Twitter
Looking for the latest Husker sports news from The Omaha World-Herald and Omaha.com? Follow us on Twitter!
Husker scholarship distribution chart
Want to see how many scholarships NU has invested at each position? Wondering how the Huskers have appropriated their offers by class? Check out our handy chart to look further into how Bo Pelini has built his team.
Husker Signing Day 2013
The World-Herald's top-notch coverage of the Nebraska football's class of 2013, complete with videos, photos, articles, live recruit interviews, interactive components and more.
Husker turnovers: A slippery slope
Bo Pelini has coached 68 games at Nebraska. When NUís turnover margin is positive or even, the Huskers are 35-2. When they lose the turnover battle, theyíre 13-18. Why hasnít Nebraska joined the nationís elite? More than anything, itís turnovers.
Interactive: Bo Pelini's contract
View an interactive PDF of Pelini's revised contract signed by the NU football coach, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Darin Erstad's contract (2012)
View an interactive PDF of NU baseball coach Darin Erstad's contract released in August 2012, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Tim Miles' contract
View an interactive PDF of Tim Miles' contract signed by the Nebraska men's basketball coach on May 4, 2012, complete with brief legal explanations, comparisons to other Big Ten coaches and more.
Omaha.com's Big Ten coverage
Delivering the best news coverage and analysis of the Big Ten Conference, from Omaha.com and other top news outlets from around country.
Husker Recruiting: Changes shrink NU's sphere of influence
For decades, the Great Plains represented fertile recruiting ground for Tom Osborne's football program. Restoring that lost tradition won't be easy.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Tokyo Sushi
$5 for $10 or $10 for $20 toward All-You-Can-Eat Sushi Purchase
Buy Now
BRT ON TWITTER »
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT »
< >