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Welcome back to the Trentonian's Full-Court Press blog. Yes, we're still alive, and with the 2015-16 season rapidly approaching, it's time to fire up the old blog for another season. Check back here throughout the year for updates on all things Rider and Princeton, including coverage of both the MAAC and Ivy League. Feel free to drop me a line on twitter @kj_franko ( or email

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Shawn Valentine is Rider's Mr. Do-It-All

Shawn Valentine has the trust of coach Kevin Baggett. // John Blaine Photo

@kj_franko on Twitter

Lawrenceville >> Shawn Valentine doesn't like to admit he's a jack of all trades, but head coach Kevin Baggett knows how valuable the junior forward is to the Rider basketball team.

"Shawn knows that I trust him in a lot of situations," Baggett said. "He's a guy that's normally in the game when the game's on the line for us."

On a team with only two seniors, Valentine is one of the leaders. In two seasons, he's played 63 games, logging 19.1 minutes per contest a year ago as a sophomore.

"On the court and off the court, I need to be vocal," Valentine said. "I need to be a guy that can step up and get a stop, make a shot ... be the person that can lead us along."

That's precisely what Baggett likes about him.

"He does a lot well," the third-year coach said. "He's one of the better guys in our press, on of our better defensive players. He understands what we're trying to get done offensively with a high basketball IQ. He's going to play a bigger role and I trust him in what he does on the court for us."

Valentine said he's worked hard on his jump shot during the offseason.

"Just making shots consistently," he said when asked where he's challenged himself. "Taking a good shot. Not trying to force everything and making the shot when I'm open."

Situational Basketball

The Broncs spent a good portion of practice working on situations they might face during games.

Like what to do when you're down five with 20 seconds left? Or tie game, side out with five seconds remaining?

"We want to be prepared for anything that's thrown at us," Valentine said. 

"We need to do more of it," Baggett said. "We had some turnovers in it. We had some open looks that some of our guards didn't see. They need to be confident in it and understand exactly what we're trying to get done in them. We'll continue to do them until we get comfortable in those situations."

Feeling Good

Kahlil Thomas is back on the court after suffering a sprained ankle two weeks ago.

Outside of freshman Kenny Grant, who is still working his way back from knee surgery, Baggett said everybody is healthy.

"This is the right time to get guys healthy and get going," the coach said.

The season opener is Nov. 14 at Princeton.


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November 3, 2014 at 2:24 PM 

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