TCU post Karviar Shepherd has led the Horned Frogs in scoring the last two games with a combined 28 points. That’s more than double what he scored in the first three Big 12 games combined.
The freshman is starting to get more comfortable offensively. In the first three league games, he attempted a combined 14 shots.
“He’s got a better understanding now of good shot/bad shot,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. “I think he’s making strides offensively.”
Shepherd has made 7 of 15 shots and is 14 of 16 from the free-throw line in his last two games, losses to Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. TCU (9-8, 0-5 Big12) is at No. 25 Oklahoma (14-4, 3-2) at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Johnson has to be cautious of how much he uses Shepherd because of the team’s thin bench. There’s no one available to replace him at the post. The closest would be Amric Fields, who’s usually already on the floor.
Still, Shepherd played a career-high 40 minutes against Texas Tech. Johnson said a minor calf injury has subsided which has also helped him be more assertive.
“Mentally, he’s fine,” Johnson said, dismissing the freshman wall many young players hit during their first college season. “A lot of that depends on how deep your team is. There’s no rotation there and it’s hard to simulate the physicality in practice.
“From his standpoint, I think it’s just a matter of him getting tired, not hitting a wall. Because mentally he’s always been engaged and always been real coachable.”
Fields still fighting
Amric Fields is still far from being 100 percent, at least from a conditioning standpoint.
He’s still unable to practice after a game or even practice hard the day before because of soreness from surgery in his knee, which he injured over a year ago.
Johnson said Fields is about 65 percent, but said the senior isn’t experiencing pain, just soreness.
“It has been tough on him because obviously he wants to do more,” Johnson said. “But as a coach, we have to make sure we monitor it and not let him do too much.”
Fields is averaging 28 minutes per game and that is trending up. He’s played 35 and 33 minutes the past two games.
“And I thought that was way too many minutes for him, but we don’t have a lot of places to go,” Johnson said, referring to the lack of post options on the bench. “But I still have to get him off the floor to try to keep him fresh, because the last thing I want is him out there playing tired and getting reinjured.”