Vandy is dandy for Beaver Falls grad Jeter
TribLIVE Sports Videos
During his basketball career at Beaver Falls High School, Sheldon Jeter carried himself in a manner befitting one of the best players in the state. He was confident and in control, backing up the swagger with WPIAL gold and PIAA silver.
But even a player as talented and self-assured as Jeter isn't immune to bouts of insecurity.
When he arrived at Vanderbilt University over the summer, Jeter suddenly was just another player. He went from unquestioned superstar to unproven commodity.
By his own admission, he became apprehensive. He practiced with the constant fear that even a slight mistake would mean long stretches sitting next to coach Kevin Stallings. In one particular practice, he didn't take a single shot.
“Coach was wondering what was wrong,” said Jeter, the Tribune-Review's high school boys player of the year for 2011-12. “I felt like he was yelling at me because I didn't shoot. I thought, ‘Maybe I'm allowed to shoot. Maybe I'm actually allowed to score a little bit.' ”
The scoring didn't happen quickly, but once the calendar turned to January, Jeter's play — and that familiar confidence — elevated.
In his past five games, he's scored more points than he did in his first 11. He's averaging 9.4 ppg in January, including 8.3 in four SEC games. In this month's lone nonconference game, against William & Mary on Jan. 2, he led the team with 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting.
He was again the Commodores' leading scorer against Arkansas 10 days later, then had 13 points in his first collegiate start against Ole Miss on Wednesday. He was back in the starting lineup Saturday and scored eight points — to go with six rebounds — in a win over South Carolina.
“Sheldon has turned the corner … and is playing with more intensity,” Stallings said. “He has a natural ability to score the ball that's helping him, and he's a really good finisher around the basket.
“As his defensive play continues to catch up with the rest of his game, he should play more and more.”
Something that Jeter, a small forward, has done well all season is shoot from the outside. He's shooting 40 percent (10 for 25) from 3-point range; his first collegiate basket was a 3-pointer from the corner.
Accuracy from the perimeter has started to create opportunities for Jeter to get to the basket. Against defending national champion Kentucky on Jan. 10, he took advantage of the defense overplaying him for the three and was able to slip backdoor. He took a pass from point guard Kedren Johnson for an uncontested dunk.
His three field goals against the Gamecocks on Saturday were a pair of layups and a dunk.
Jeter's recent emergence has been a bright spot for the young Commodores (7-9, 1-3 SEC). With all but two players being either freshmen or sophomores, Vanderbilt has had its share of struggles this season. Twice the Commodores have been held to less than 40 points.
Perhaps that's why Stallings encouraged Jeter to look for his offense more. Perhaps that's why Jeter was inserted into the starting lineup.
Jeter has rewarded his coach's faith and, in the process, some of the moxie that defined his career at Beaver Falls has started to bubble to the surface.
He said he never really lost his confidence; he just needed his coach's approval to show it.
“(Stallings) told me how important I could be to the team this year if I approached my potential,” Jeter said. “That kind of made me want to work harder.”
Chuck Curti is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Venezuela’s Maduro says airlines wage ‘economic war’
- Musical fundraiser carries across generations
- NK grocery store robbed
- Pair accused of stealing bronze vases at Greenwood Memorial Park
- Stop nets 3 men on gun, drug charges in New Kensington
- State trooper shot and killed during training exercise
- Retirement planning is about more than just money
- Steelers’ Tomlin does not like his coaching style to be characterized
- Pittsburgh Tribune-Review athletes of the week: South Park’s Justin Minda, Baldwin’s Alina Stahl
- September ranks with driest ever in Western Pa.
- Leechburg Area’s anti-bullying effort shows youngsters how to be BRAVE