Shipp flourishes in limited role

As a senior, seeing your minutes per game cut in half from your freshman year would be naturally a tough pill to swallow. A disgruntle disposition, although not welcomed, would be almost understandable. Yet, Jerren Shipp epitomizes the adage of rolling with the punches, as he continues to contribute for the Sun Devils playing sparingly week in and week out.

As a freshman Jerren Shipp averaged 30 minutes a game, and started in 22 contests that year. Currently, he averages 13.6 minutes and has been in the starting lineup just twice this season.

Arizona State Head Coach Herb Sendek claimed that he didn't need to discuss at length the reduced role with his guard because Shipp has always realized the bigger picture.

"He's been very capable with his team's centeredness, and with his personality, to really adjust and adapt to the different roles his team needs him to fulfill," said Sendek. "He's a very even keel guy. He's always been all for the team. It really is part of his make-up. He gets it."

Shipp admitted that his career has felt like a "roller coaster" due the sharp dips in scoring and minutes played over the span of four years, as well as the team's development.

"First year was crazy, we didn't win many games," said Shipp of that 8-22 campaign. "It was a tough year. We started feeling a little success the last two years. Nobody gave us a shot this year, but as a team we had our own goals and expectations. We came to work every day and we are benefitting from it now."

Shipp's eight points in the last five and half minutes against Arizona were instrumental in the Sun Devils' 73-69 road victory in Tucson. Nonetheless, the humble guard true to his coach's description, first and foremost he talks about the exciting opportunity that lies ahead for his squad.

"We're in a good position to win the Pac-10 (regular season) championship," stated Shipp. "That's all you can really ask for right now."

Shipp acknowledged that the notion that his maroon and gold tenure is winding down, is really starting to sink in these days, as he prepares for his last ever Pac-10 road trip – a visit to the Bay Area schools. It's a topic that he obviously discusses often with his fellow seniors Derek Glasser and Eric Boateng.

‘We've been talking about this all year," commented Ship. "Going out winning the Pac-10 championship. It's our goal and we just have to work harder everyday to complete it."

The guard added that he hasn't been thinking much of senior day that is coming up a week from Saturday and his prospects of starting in his last ever Pac-10 game at Wells Fargo Arena.

"Herb will start me if he feels it's right," commented Shipp. "I'll just come into the game doing what I have been doing."

Shipp's two older brothers played in the Pac-10 and were considered some of the most prolific sorcerers in the league in the last several years. Joe Shipp who started at California has played professionally in Brazil up until recently and ex-UCLA Josh Shipp is currently playing in Turkey. Josh was able to capture two conference titles in Westwood and the younger Shipp would naturally like to register a championship before his time in Tempe comes to an end.

"I can't compare myself to what my brother did," Shipp explained, "because that doesn't happen too much. It would be great to have (a championship) because Joe didn't have one so I can give him some hard time. But I can't give Josh too much of a hard time."

Resiliency has obviously defined Shipp throughout his college career, and his performance against his team's archrival two days ago was a microcosm of that trait. Shipp's two first shots were missed: one was a three-point attempt that barely grazed the rim and the other was a drive to the basket that was missed. However, he was able to put those misfired shots behind him and score the eight aforementioned points in the waning moments of a close game.

"I tried to put the first half behind me," recalled Shipp. "I got the ball at the top of the key, I was wide open and I shot it with confidence and it went in. My second shot I was wide open and I had confidence from the previous shot.

"I wanted to stay aggressive and I know my team wanted me to take the shot so I took it."

Shipp added that this season, more than ever, he has spent extra time in the gym practicing his shooting. "I feel like I'm shooting better," commented Shipp. "But it all comes with confidence."

The only constant in Shipp's ASU career has been his ever-changing role. He went from an every game starter as a newcomer, to a reserve who didn't play at all in three games this year and was scoreless in seven of the games that he did participate in. So how does the senior cope with his varying duties?

"I just try to stay focused in the game," said Shipp. "I'm not worried about what I'm doing individually, but as a team if we are winning. I don't care if I play two, ten or twenty minutes. I just care about winning.

"It's hard because everybody wants to play and they want to play the whole game. I don't want to come out of the game, I want to start. Everybody wants to be a starter but you have to accept the role that you are given and do the best you can. It's been tough, but we are winning so I can't complain."

Shipp also tries to impart his wisdom and experience to some of ASU's freshmen who are seeing limited playing time on a squad with a strong upperclassmen core.

"I just tell them to keep your head up," said Shipp. "You have a long four years here. So just come to work every day and everything will work out."


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