The Shields’ household in Olathe, headed by a former perennial All-Pro offensive lineman, was honored for its basketball achievement on Monday.
Nebraska swingman Shavon Shields, son of former Chiefs star Will Shields, paced the Cornhuskers’ comeback victory over Iowa on Saturday with 12 second-half points and was chosen Big Ten freshman of the week.
Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein, who lived with the Shields family for two years while attending Olathe Northwest, won the same honor in the Southeastern Conference, helping the Wildcats to victories over Vanderbilt and Missouri.
Late Saturday night, messages were exchanged.
“I sent him a text, telling him he played a great game, congrats on the win, and good luck getting into the (NCAA) Tournament,” Shavon Shields said of Cauley-Stein, who had 12 rebounds and seven blocked shots against the Tigers. “We text and talk every week.”
The 7-foot Cauley-Stein has assumed more responsibility with the recent injury to Kentucky defensive stopper Nerlens Noel, and after Kentucky’s stunning 30-point loss to Tennessee, the results have been encouraging.
“When I see him play, he’s improved a lot, especially with his confidence,” Shields said. “Coach (John Calipari) is getting the best out of him.”
Shields also has taken big strides this season, entering the starting lineup in time for Big Ten play and averaging 10.2 points and 6.2 rebounds in those games. Last week, he turned in a 19-point, 13-rebound effort against Michigan State. The Huskers, 13-14 overall, are 10th in the Big Ten heading to Wisconsin on Tuesday, are chasing a .500 record in coach Tim Miles’ first season.
“A lot of people picked us to finish last in the Big Ten,” Shields said. “We knew that wasn’t the type of team we had.”
Shields is the second in his family to start at Nebraska as a freshman. The other is Will, the 1992 Outland Trophy winner and a two-time finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame after a stellar career entirely with the Chiefs.
“It’s awesome to see all the kids coming into their own,” Will Shields said.
Will also can play some hoops, and Shavon remembers the first time he saw his dad dunk.
“I was a little kid and were shooting the driveway. He went up and dunked it, and I thought, “Wow.’ ” Shields said. “You usually don’t see a 300-pound guy get up like that. He can move on a basketball court for a guy his size. He’s a difficult matchup.”
It was through AAU basketball that the Shields family met Cauley-Stein, who was raised by his grandparents in tiny Spearville, Kan., near Dodge City. Cauley-Stein’s family agreed that his prospects of attending college would improve by moving in with the Shields, who also have a basketball-playing daughter. Sanayika Shields plays for Drury and is coming off a career-best 11-point game in a victory over Rockhurst.
Cauley-Stein has called Will Shields “a father figure.”
So, was a football path a possibility for Shavon? No. He stopped playing in the eighth grade. But not Cauley-Stein. He was a 6-foot-10 wide receiver for the Ravens and Calipari came on a scouting mission to see his prospect on the gridiron. Oddly enough, Olathe Northwest made the Kansas 6A playoffs that season but not the state basketball tournament.Two quotes
• “We weren’t playing with energy. In a strange way, it got us refocused.”| Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford on Cowboys guard Marcus Smart collecting three fouls in the first 2:34 at West Virginia.
• “It’s a lot of trial and error. There’s a little bit of trial and there’s a lot of error, but that’s part of being a freshman.| Kentucky coach John Calipari on Archie Goodwin. Double bonus top 10
|School (prev. rank)||Overall||Conf.||Last wk.|
|1. Florida (1)||22-4||12-2||1-1|
|2. Kansas (2)||23-4||11-3||2-0|
|3. Kansas State (3)||22-5||11-3||2-0|
|4. Oklahoma State (4)||20-6||10-4||1-1|
|5. Iowa State (7)||19-8||9-5||2-0|
|6. Oklahoma (6)||18-8||9-5||2-0|
|7. Missouri (5)||19-8||8-6||1-1|
|8. Alabama (9)||18-9||10-4||1-1|
|9. Kentucky (NR)||19-8||10-4||2-0|
|10. Tennessee (NR)||16-10||8-6||2-0|
Blair Kerkhoff projects the 16 top-four seeds, along with their second- and third-round sites:
|Midwest Region||East Region||West Region||South Region|
|(Indianapolis)||(Washington, D.C.)||(Los Angeles)||(Arlington, Texas)|
|1.||Indiana (Dayton, Ohio)||Duke (Philadelphia)||Gonzaga (Salt Lake City)||Florida (Lexington, Ky.)|
|2.||Georgetown (Philadelphia)||Michigan State (Auburn Hills, Mich.)||Arizona (Salt Lake City)||Michigan (Auburn Hills, Mich.)|
|3.||New Mexico (Austin, Texas)||Syracuse (Dayton, Ohio)||Miami, Fla. (Lexington, Ky.)||Kansas (Sprint Center)|
|4.||Butler (San Jose, Calif.)||Kansas State (Sprint Center)||Louisville (Austin, Texas)||Saint Louis (San Jose, Calif.)|