TCU center Karviar Shepherd started smiling as soon as the topic arose during Sunday’s postgame news conference. The freshman had just recorded his first double-double against UT Pan American, the ninth game of his college career.
Shepherd and TCU hope it’s the first of many to come.
“Yes, hopefully,” he said after scoring 11 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in TCU’s win. He also had five blocks in the game, despite picking up his second foul with 5:50 left in the first half. “I’m pretty happy.”
But Shepherd also echoed the sentiments of his coach Trent Johnson, who was annoyed with a lack of urgency his team showed before closing on a 17-3 run to win by nine.
Shepherd, for all his talent, is also looked to as one of the team’s leaders because of his maturity. Johnson expressed dismay that his team would come out flat repeatedly at home and suggested the inspiration must come from his players. Shepherd, despite being a freshman, is expected to be one of those guys.
“Any great, good or average team is only as good as the guys in that locker room who police themselves,” Johnson said. “Whether it’s one, two, three or four guys. They’ve heard this over and over again. If we want to be as good as we want to be, whatever that may be, the guys in the locker room are going to have to address this and call each other out of their comfort zone and challenge each other. That’s called being competitive and wanting to win and not being selfish. Now if the head coach has to do it that could be a problem.”
TCU (6-3) continues a six-game homestand against Grambling State (1-4) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. It’s the type of opponent the Horned Frogs have struggled against at home this season.
Sure, the Frogs have been without injured Amric Fields in their home struggles but their tenacity hasn’t suffered in tough road wins in his absence.
“We have to adjust and keep adjusting until he comes back,” Shepherd said. “Everything is going to come together over this home stretch and that’s what we need. I’m just really focusing on doing what I can to help my team. Obviously, we’re an undersized team, too, so I’ve got to go out there and rebound, get as many boards as I can, and that’s what I do.”