Photo by Jason Caldwell

Tahj Shamsid-Deen's return has given the Auburn basketball Tigers a boost.

Bruce Pearl has a high opinion of junior guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen and what he means to the Auburn basketball team.

 Tahj Shamsid-Deen (above) is one of the Auburn basketball team's most experienced players.

Auburn, Ala.--Bruce Pearl says Tahj Shamsid-Deen's return to action after missing the season opener has made a positive difference for the Auburn basketball team.

Shamsid-Deen suffered a preseason shoulder injury that forced him to miss the two exhibition games and the season-opening victory vs. UAB.

Playing 15 minutes vs. Colorado, the junior guard scored two points. He added two assists while not committing a turnover and made a steal.

Playing 16 minutes on Friday night vs. Georgia Southern he chipped in with eight points, one assist and one steal and did not have a turnover.

“Tahj is doing really well,” Pearl tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. “He is a player who has an impact on everybody else and not every player does.

“He makes us better offensively and defensively, and he makes everybody else better both offensively and defensively,” the coach says.

“His energy helps us. He doesn’t take possessions off or he doesn’t take seconds off during possessions.?He is always in the right place at the right time and it is infectious.

“It also les me play Kareem Canty on and off the ball, which means I can move him around because Kareem is such a dangerous weapon,” the coach adds. “Kareem likes playing with Tahj. He clearly makes us better defensively.”

Shamsid-Deen’s sophomore season was cut short when he had to undergo surgery on both shoulders after playing in 23 games. 

“I feel good,” he says. “I am getting better every day and I am rehabbing twice every day. I am getting some contact practices in.

“I am trying to get in game shape, but wearing this brace I have to take quick, short breaths so once I get used to running around in this I will be straight,” he says.

The Tigers will play Northwestern State on Friday at 7:30 p.m. CST in Auburn Arena. The junior hopes to continue to make progress. 

“I feel like I played better in my second game and I will build confidence with each game,” he says. “I want to be able to help the team in any way I can.”

Shamsid-Deen notes the team’s trainers keep a close eye on him in games and practices. “Every time I fall or every time I wince they think something is wrong with me, but it is all good,” he says. “They care about me and want me to get healthy.”

The last time the Tigers played Northwestern State, Shamsid-Deen was a freshman starter for then AU coach Tony Barbee. He scored nine points while dishing out four assists against the Demons, who outscored the Tigers 111-92 at Auburn Arena.

“I remember that we were up by 20 and we lost by 20,” he says. “We are definitely going try to keep that from happening this game.”

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