In the SEC it is easy to get lost in the glamor of all the 5-star recruits that come and go through the University of Kentucky. It is fair to say that the SEC is not the best basketball conference, but do a good job producing NBA players. In the 2016-2017 NBA season, the SEC had 62 players represent themselves on a roster. According to Rivals, there are 31 top 150 recruits that signed with SEC schools for the Class of 2017. Calipari and Kentucky may dominate the SEC headlines, but within the SEC lies a pool of underrated talent.
As the 2017-2018 College Basketball season approaches, it comes that time to see new “diaper dandies” explode onto the scene. When it comes to the SEC incoming Class of 2017, you might be more accustomed to hearing names such as Michael Porter Jr., Collin Sexton, Kevin Knox, Jarred Vanderbilt, and PJ Washington. I want to introduce you to an underrated incoming Freshman named Devontae Shuler. Devontae signed with Ole Miss and was ranked #118 for the Class of 2017 by Rivals after finishing his career at Oak Hill. He is a 6’3″ 185lbs athletic combo guard from Irmo, South Carolina that enjoys getting into the paint. Shuler thrives out in transition where he can display his athleticism and finish at the rim.
Shuler burst onto the scene his sophomore year averaging nearly 26 ppg at Irmo High School in Columbia, South Carolina. Oak Hill took notice as the combo guard decided to transfer to the powerhouse for his Junior and Senior seasons. His first season (2015-2016) with Oak Hill, Shuler averaged 10 ppg, 2.5 RPG, 2.3 APG, and 1.7 SPG while shooting 56% from the field and 41% from three. His senior season (2016-2017), Shuler went on to average 15.3 ppg, 4.3 RPG, 4.1 APG, and 3.7 SPG while shooting 56% from the field and 43% from three. He even had a 40 point game his senior year. It is safe to say that Shuler belongs and will thrive against high-level competition.
If you ask Ole Miss fans about landing another Irmo, South Carolina product, my bet is they are ecstatic. The last time Rebel nation landed an Irmo, South Carolina-bred player was Murphy Holloway. Murphy went on to be all-time leading rebounder at Ole Miss while becoming a fan favorite bringing energy and toughness to the floor every night. Shuler will also become a fan favorite quickly with his exciting athletic style of play.
For Shuler to blossom in the SEC it will be key for him to shoot 40% or over from beyond the arc. With the way he likes to attack his free throw percentage will need to increase. Also making the transition to playing a more pure point guard position will allow him to get more minutes on the floor. Shuler has the capability of being a lockdown perimeter defender with his athleticism. He plays the passing lanes as well as any in the Class of 2017. If Shuler reaches his capable potential, watch out for the next SEC superstar.