Sherman Continues His March Of Improvement
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A look down the stat sheet Saturday following West Virginia’s 83-57 victory over Nicholls wouldn’t have spotlighted Taz Sherman.
The junior was good enough, finishing with eight points, making three of four shots from the field and one of two from 3-point range.
But when Mountaineer bigs Derek Culver and Oscar Tshiebwe each post a double-double – 16 points and 16 rebounds for Culver to go along with 15 points and 11 rebounds for Tshiebwe – and three other teammates also score in double figures – 15 points for Deuce McBride, and 10 each for Emmitt Matthews and Sean McNeil – Sherman’s eight got lost on the list.
His performance on the court, though, drew notice.
“Taz is starting to be the player we thought we recruited,” noted WVU head coach Bob Huggins after the victory, which improved the Mountaineers’ record to 9-1.
“I think it takes all (newcomers) a while to figure out how hard you have to play at this level,” explained Huggins. “College basketball, particularly college basketball at the level we play at here, you’ve got to really work.”
Sherman’s eight points on Saturday all came in the first half and helped the home team weather the Colonels’ relentless effort, allowing WVU to take a 39-31 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Having arrived at West Virginia this summer from Collin (Texas) College, the 6-foot-3 guard has spent the first part of this season feeling his way into Huggins’ system.
A second-team juco All-American last year after posting 25.9 points a game, Sherman was averaging just 3.1 points through WVU’s first nine games this season. His best contests in the gold-and-blue came with an eight-point effort in the opener against Akron, and he matched that total against Northern Colorado.
He had eight in the first 12 minutes against Nicholls, and though he didn’t score after that, he felt like he’s starting to round into form.
“It’s taken me a while to get used to the style of play,” stated the Missouri City, Texas, native. “Usually in juco, it’s just up and down trying to get more possessions than the other team. But at Division I, it’s usually more structured. The speed of the game is something I had to adjust to. I’m still trying to get into the flow, but hopefully this game will take me over the hump.”
Having made 49 percent of his field goal attempts and 40 percent of his threes last year at Collin, Sherman started his Mountaineer career slowly. Through the first nine games he had converted only 28 percent from the field and 25 percent of his threes.
“I was a little frustrated,” admitted Sherman, who attended Fort Bend Thurgood Marshall High School outside Houston. “I think of myself as a good scorer and a good shooter, so when I missed as many shots as I did at first, it was a little unusual for me. But I had to develop amnesia and move on to the next play.
“I felt like today I slowed do a little bit and played my game. Once I did that, I felt comfortable.
“The whole week in practice I felt like the old me again,” he added. “I was getting into my shots. I wasn’t being passive, and I felt comfortable. I hope I stay there forever.”
Sherman acknowledges he still has a long way to go before he reaches his peak.
His coach says the same.
“He’s got to pass it better,” noted Huggins when asked of the improvements Sherman still needs to make. “He’s a willing passer, but he’s got to figure out where people are coming open.
“Also he’s got to get better defensively, but he’s starting to understand,” continued Huggins. “He seemingly kind of likes (defense).
“When he makes shots and you put him and Sean on the floor together, that opens a lot of things up for Derek and Oscar.”