Shai Interview 2018
Watching Shai McGruder–whether in practice or a game—I keep getting the feeling in the back of my mind that the gym is too small to contain her. She will get a rebound under the basket at one end of the floor, pass it to a guard, and then beat everyone down court to the offensive basket. She will dive on the floor to try and make a steal, and a few moments later sky upwards to effortlessly scrape the rim. The Lobo roster this season is filled with a lot of athletic players, but Shai is arguably the most physically talented post the team has had in a long time.
As with many freshmen, big numbers in HS (25+ points and 9+ rebound per game her senior season) do not always translate into immediate playing time. In the first six games this season she averaged about six minutes and two points per game, the bulk of that in one game vs Texas Southern.. But as the speed has become more focused in the team structure, the time on court has grown quickly. In the next six games that increased to twelve minutes a game, with scoring and rebounding numbers increasing substantially. Among the bench players she is also second on the team in steals and blocks.
But the most notable thing Shai contributes to each game when she get in, is energy. Something exciting is always going to happen, and more often it has been good than bad for the Lobos. This has earned her her most minutes in the most recent two games, 19 against Air Force (9 points, 9 rebounds, two blocks, 2 steals), and 18 at Nevada (9 points 4 rebounds, 2 steals).
The following interview was done before Christmas break, but a few personal issues (on my part) delayed that until now.