Shavon Shields is a loyal player and has a contract with Milan until the Summer of 2026. Source: Imago Images
Shavon Shields is a loyal player and has a contract with Milan until the Summer of 2026. Source: Imago Images

Shavon Shields – Milan’s reliable record breaker

Basketball OlyBet 26.03.2024

Even though the eras and competition formats are entirely different, the fact remains that instead of double NBA and EuroLeague champion Bob McAdoo, the player who has scored the most points in the strongest club series in the Old World while wearing a Milan jersey is Shavon Shields.

Born in the USA but representing Denmark internationally thanks to his mother, the forward claimed the record last week by scoring 15 points against Fenerbahce Istanbul, bringing his total in the Milan jersey to 1298 points.

It should be noted that Shields needed 96 games to surpass McAdoo’s result of 1292 points, whereas the American achieved his score in significantly fewer matches. Furthermore, while the current record holder has averaged 13.8 points in the EuroLeague while playing for Milan, the American’s tally was 25.4 points. The difference is enormous!

McAdoo playing for Milan:

Milan’s top mark has been held by McAdoo, who has also won three NBA championship rings as an assistant coach since 1990, although the Italian giant has had scoring machines like Mike James, Keith Langford, and Kevin Punter play for them, but for one reason or another, they haven’t stayed at the club long enough.

Before Shields, another forward, Serbian Vladimir Micov, came closest to McAdoo’s record. He played for Milan from 2017 to 2021 and scored a total of 1232 points in the EuroLeague. In addition to the mentioned trio, only two men have surpassed 1000 points for the club: power forward Nicolo Melli (1116) and point guard Sergio Rodriguez (1008).

Milan’s website aptly noted that Shields’ milestone has significant meaning because it’s not common these days for a player to spend four consecutive seasons at one club. Additionally, such a record requires consistency, and only players who have earned the respect of their colleagues, coaches, and club owners reach that level.

“It has an important meaning,” they continued, “because Shields has not played all the games over these four years; he has missed 34 of them, practically an entire season. It has great significance because no one had been able to touch this record in almost 35 years of potential attempts.”

An overachiever with a strong work ethic

Consistency and diligence were traits Shields exhibited already in college. While studying and playing basketball at Nebraska, he stood out not only on the court but also in the classroom, being one of the best student-athletes in the country.

When he finished his college career in 2016, he had started in the starting lineup in 112 out of 121 games, a feat surpassed only by Cooke Belcher (131). As Patrick L. Gerhart, who covered Nebraska as a journalist, wrote: “Shavon started 93% of the games he played in. Who does that who is not a one-and-done player?

Again, 93% indicates reliability. He stayed out of trouble and remained mostly healthy. Some of that is luck; some of it is knowing what needs to be done to accomplish your goals. He worked hard to ensure that his game was up to speed on all fronts. A healthy body, a healthy mind, if you will.

He also excelled off the basketball court at Nebraska. He was a Biological Sciences major. Do you know what it takes to get that? A lot of science and math classes. Organic Chemistry is in there too. I’ve never taken it, but I have enough friends who have to know that it’s not exactly a walk in the park. These aren’t classes your normal athlete takes.

It’s what every athletic department wants in their student-athletes. You come to school, you study hard, you practice and play hard, and you represent the institution well in public.

He was an overachiever with a strong work ethic. The above proves that. Again, I’m sure a lot of this came from his upbringing. At least a little of the ethic his dad had during his years in the NFL rubbed off on him.”

The desire to work hard usually doesn’t come on its own but is the result of upbringing. This applies to Shields, whose father, Will, was an American football player and is in the NFL Hall of Fame. He made his career through discipline, work ethic, and grind.

“During the season, he was usually gone before we got off to school at the facility doing treatment or watching film. I take a lot of after that to try to be professional, responsible, show up on time, work hard, do your job, and things usually work out for the best,” Shields said on BasketNews Talks.

Shields at Nebraska:

Took several shots at the NBA

Like many college basketball players in the USA, Shields attempted to make a breakthrough in the NBA. Although it was quite clear that he wouldn’t be drafted in 2016, he didn’t give up and went to the summer league. In his first game, he only scored two points and made one out of four shots, and although he did better in later games in various summer leagues, his NBA dream has never materialized.

Reading interviews with Shields from back then, a somewhat un-American attitude immediately stood out: if I can’t make it to the NBA, I’ll go to Europe, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Usually, NBA hopes are held onto dearly, but Shields realized after college that in the Old World, one can earn good pay and the level of play is high.

In 2016, Shields started playing in Europe with Germany’s Skyliners Frankfurt, then went to Italy with Trento. In 2018, he got his chance in the EuroLeague with Baskonia for two seasons. Even though he didn’t have outstanding stats with the Spanish club, Shields proved himself in the EuroLeague. After helping Baskonia win the Spanish championship, he moved to Milan, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Focus on: Shavon Shields, Baskonia:

At the beginning of this season, Shields said in an interview with Eurohoops that he loves Milan, his teammates, and coaches. He added: “Milan feels like a second home to me. It’s a great place to be and to play. My family and I are happy and comfortable here.”

What kind of player is Shields?

While Mike James is often considered almost unanimously the most skilled individual player in the EuroLeague, many also place Shields quite high in that ranking. He is adept in one-on-one situations, and thanks to his height (201 cm), he’s hard to stop both when shooting or attacking the rim.

Moreover, Shields is a highly effective player on offense. This season, he has made 59.5% of his two-point shots and 40.6% of his three-pointers, despite taking plenty of shots.

Highlights of Shields against ASVEL this season:

Offensively, Shields is having his best season of his career. He has never scored as many points before – 16.2 per game – and his shooting accuracy has never been as good from both two-pointers and three-pointers.

It’s also true that in theory, Shields could be even more effective. Namely, Milan once again has a problem with point guards, or rather their absence. Although Shabazz Napier occasionally moves the ball well, overall, Messina doesn’t have an offensive orchestrator who can deliver the ball to the right man at the right place at the right time. This makes Shields’ stats even more admirable.

While Shields isn’t exactly a lock-down defender, he is certainly above average defensively, able to cover players of different positions.

At 29 years old, Shields is currently showcasing the finest basketball of his career, which explains why he’s held in such high regard in Milan. While achieving a record is admirable, Shields undoubtedly craves championships. If he were to lead Milan to another EuroLeague title, it would undoubtedly be a highlight in his career, especially considering the team hasn’t claimed the championship since 1988.


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