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CU basketball player review: Shane Gatling

Fewer minutes meant fewer scoring explosions for senior guard

Colorado's Shane Gatling shoots a three ...
Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
Colorado’s Shane Gatling shoots a three over USC’s Nick Rakocevic during the Feb. 20, 2020 game in Boulder.

It was clear Shane Gatling was the type of shooter prone to running hot and cold from the moment he arrived at Colorado. That didn’t change through the end of his two-year career with the Buffaloes.

While Gatling played fewer minutes during his senior year, and the high-end scoring eruptions dwindled, the guard who traveled a winding road to CU actually improved his various shooting percentages, albeit only slightly in the area where he was supposed to help the Buffs the most — 3-point shooting.

Despite starting 33 of 36 games as a junior, Gatling began the 2019-20 campaign coming off the bench, a run highlighted by a 20-point effort that saved the Buffs on a subpar night offensively at Colorado State on Dec. 13.

Yet after sophomores Daylen Kountz and Eli Parquet were unable to stake their respective claims on the starting two-guard spot, head coach Tad Boyle returned Gatling to the starting lineup for good beginning with the final nonconference game of the season against Iona.

Gatling was more judicious in his shot selection than his fire-away approach as a junior. He averaged 4.7 fewer minutes per game this season but launched 101 fewer field goal attempts. He shot .325 from long range (37-for-114) after posting a .319 mark last year (59-for-185). His overall field goal percentage improved slightly from .358 to .369, as did his free throw percentage (.825 to .842).

Gatling joined McKinley Wright IV and D’Shawn Schwartz as the only rotation players to produce more assists than turnovers, yet Gatling’s assist-to-turnover rate of 1.06 (38 assists, 36 turnovers) was a slight drop from his 1.36 mark a year ago (60 assists, 44 turnovers).

While Gatling was perhaps a more steady presence as a senior, he didn’t pack nearly the same scoring punch that often bolstered the Buffs’ attack a year earlier. As a junior, Gatling posted 16 double-digit scoring efforts, but that number dropped to just six as a senior. Gatling hit at least three 3-pointers in a game eight times as a junior, but that tally was cut in half as a senior.

Like his teammates, Gatling couldn’t get going during the Buffs’ season-closing, five-game losing streak. After playing a big role in CU’s home win against USC on Feb. 20, going 3-for-4 on 3-pointers with 13 points, Gatling went 1-for-7 from long range two days later as the Buffs collapsed in the second half of a home loss against UCLA, a setback that began the late slide. Gatling shot 2-for-14 on 3-pointers and 7-for-22 overall during the losing streak.

Gatling spent one season at Niagara, where he averaged 4.7 points in 33 games as a freshman, before spending one season at Indian Hills Community College prior to his arrival at CU. He finished his CU career with a .321 mark on 3-pointers (96-for-299) with an overall field goal percentage of .362 (172-for-475). His big game at CSU was Gatling’s only 20-point game of his senior season but he had three as a junior, with his best scoring totals (28 and 26) both occurring against UCLA.

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