Coming into this season, the big names for Oklahoma State hoops are easy to rattle off. Jeffrey Carroll. Mitch Solomon. Davon Dillard. Lindy Waters. Even Zack Dawson. But one name that’s getting a little bit lost is Tavarius Shine.
Shine, of course, missed most of last year with a back injury. His wasn’t an injury that made anybody cringe over or scour message boards to try and find a possible return date, but on this team in this year? He might matter. In fact, in Oklahoma State’s lone exhibition game last Friday, he did matter.
Shine didn’t start but he played more than anyone last Friday and had 19 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and went 5/8 from 3-point range. It might have been nothing because … Arkansas-Monticello … but it might have been something for a Cowboys team looking for a consistent No. 2 scorer.
“I purposefully wanted to play him a lot,” said Mike Boynton. “Just to get him over the fear of getting hurt again or worried about whether he’s really ready. By doing that he was able to have a lot of opportunities because his teammates are playing pretty unselfishly. He got some pretty good looks and knocked them down.”
The question is whether Shine can do it against the Arkansas without the hyphen … and Texas … and Kansas State.
“It felt good,” said Shine. It’s more of a blessing for me that I could actually be back out there and play with my teammates, my brothers. That’s the biggest thing for me, is that I actually have a better opportunity to play the game I love to play.”
“(Coach Boynton) just wanted me to step up, just bring energy to the team. Not just offense, but still play defense, you know and take the open shots, when it’s there take it. (Coach Boynton) puts a lot of confidence in me.“
So do his teammates. Here’s No. 1 scorer Carroll:
“He looked like the vintage 5 that I know. T-Shine, I mean he’s a gym rat. He’s been working so hard to get back out there on the court and it’s cool to see him back out there playing.”
Shine has been a 10-5-1-1 per 40 guy for his entire, injury-riddled career, but he’ll be called on to do much more than that this year in Stillwater. The flip side of those numbers is that Shine didn’t touch the ball much when he was in during his last meaningful season. He was involved in just 17 percent of possessions he played in 2015-16. That number is sure to go up this season.
He’s also played his best in Oklahoma State’s biggest games. Double digits against Kansas State, Kansas, Texas, OU and West Virginia in 2016.
So who knows. Arkansas-Monticello is Arkansas-Monticello, and maybe Shine’s line last week was a mirage. Maybe he’s Leyton Hammonds. Maybe he’s worse than Leyton Hammonds. I do know that Oklahoma State needs to figure out how to score non-Carroll style, and Shine is a nice candidate to slide into the top 2-4 spot on the team.
He’s also my pick to be OSU’s breakout player of 2017-18. Maybe that says more about OSU hoops than it does about him, but I think the Lost Man is going to have a heady senior campaign, even if Oklahoma State is lousy overall.
Source: Pistols Firing
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