West Virginia Mountaineer shooting guards Sean McNeil and Taz Sherman combine for 24.7 points per game and have complimented leading scorer, point guard Miles “Deuce” McBride (16.0 ppg), becoming one of the better backcourts in the Big 12 Conference.
In the last eight games, McNeil has found some consistency, shooting an astounding 47.3% from behind the arc while averaging 15.0 points per game and went through a three-game stretch shooting 59.1% from three.
“It’s just confidence,” said McNeil. “When I see one go in the basket, it seems like it’s getting bigger and bigger, and then I just kind of continue to shoot the ball - look to score but at the same time look for my teammates – try to facilitate – just make the right play.
McNeil has never lacked confidence, but when he hits a couple of shots, confidence is at an all-time high with some of his shot selections coming from well beyond NBA range, and he has connected on a few. “I notice the ones I miss more than the ones I make,” commented McNeil while giving a smile. “But no, “When I see one go in, I know that I’ve proven I can shoot, I don’t know, kind of as soon as I cross half court, but when I see one go in, it just kind of boosts my confidence and self-esteem and then who knows where the next one could go from. I mean, that’s just how shooters just kind of have to shoot they think it’s going to go in no matter where you are, so that’s kind of my mentality.”
Sherman has been more consistent throughout the season, hitting double figures 18 out of his 21 appearances on the season while averaging 13.2 ppg. However, Sherman’s confidence continues to grow with his numbers increasing since the start of the new year, producing 15.6 ppg in 11 games, and he is coming off his second 20-point performance in just four games in a 23-point output against TCU, 15 of those coming in the second half.
“First, it starts off by just making sure and believing that every shot I shoot is going to go in. All the shots I shoot, I think are going in,” said Sherman. “Once you have that type of mindset as a shooter and a scorer - I think it just takes your game to another level – a higher level – just having that confidence in yourself to make and believe that you’re going to make every shot you take.”
Like McNeil, Sherman likes to get his teammates involved and pick his spots, but he has the ability to create from the post; that’s not necessarily uncommon, yet it’s a wrinkle that most guards around the country lack.
“My thing is, I like to first start with movement,” said Sherman. I don’t like to just get the ball and look to score right away. I like to catch people off guard and have the ball moving side to side first – catch people in rotations, and that’s when I eventually try to score and just go at the rim or just try and go get a bucket or try and find one of my teammates. I feel like that’s one of the underrated aspects of my game. I like drawing two and finding open teammates. Once they get going, it gets me going, and that’s how we end up starting one of those big runs.”
West Virginia is back in action Saturday as they play host to the Kansas State Wildcats at 4:00 pm EST on ESPN2.
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