University of Puget Sound

Keith Shattuck’s hard work pays off for Puget Sound Loggers basketball

The kings of field-goal percentage are usually basketball’s big bodies who camp near the hoop.

Rarely does a conference leader come from beyond the 3-point arc.

But that tells you what kind of season University of Puget Sound small forward Keith Shattuck is having as the team’s emerging third scoring option behind guard Erin Barber and center Nick Holden.

Up until last weekend, the 6-foot-6 sharpshooter from Shorecrest High was leading the Northwest Conference in field-goal shooting at nearly a 59-percent clip — even when one out of every two shots was a 3-pointer.

After an off-game against Willamette on Friday — he made just one of five field goal attempts — Shattuck has slipped behind Pacific’s Skyler Burgess for the league lead. Burgess is at 57.1 percent; Shattuck — who averages 11.7 points per game — is at 56.0 percent.

“In our offense, there is a lot of opportunity for people to go out and be aggressive,” Shattuck said. “And there are times and places for me to be aggressive, and times and places for me to look for Erin outside, and Nick inside.”

Shattuck’s had a breakout season as a junior after spending a couple of years as an occasional scoring spark off the bench.

With starter Dan Cheledinas graduating after last season, UPS coach Justin Lunt laid out a plan to his top returners — Shattuck, Matt Bender, Matt Bergland and Eric Rauch — in their postseason exit interviews on what kind of playing time would be available from the wing position.

Lunt’s design was simple: A starting spot, and two reserve spots with ample playing time were available among four candidates.

“One thing with this group, they just want to be told the truth,” Lunt said. “So I put it on them to take responsibility for (their offseason work).”

As good as he was on the offensive end, Shattuck’s contribution had ultimiately been curtailed because of his defensive deficiencies. And he knew that going into the summer.

“I definitely knew the it was my (starting) spot to lose,” Shattuck said. “I just wanted to make sure I did not take any steps backward.”

Long-armed and gangly, Shattuck added considerable bulk in the offseason, even trying to juggle a 30-hour-a-week job in north Seattle and an unpaid internship at with A Plus Youth Program, founded by former Lakeside High School boys basketball coach Tavio Hobson.

“It’s tough to find gyms up there,” Shattuck said. “Luckily at A Plus, they had a basketball court there, so there were days I would go there to do 6 a.m. workouts.”

Besides Shattuck showing improved strength, Lunt said it is also obvious the junior studied plenty of film in the offseason to find better ways to use his length to defend better.

“Defensively I wasn’t sure how he would be,” Lunt said. “But his commitment to the weight room, and his commitment to just improving ... he has not taken the defensive side of this lightly. He has done a great job.”