6:00: Morning News

How Taz Sherman went from unwanted to landing at West Virginia

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Taz Sherman’s only explanation for his journey through the Texas junior college ranks to West Virginia is that he fell through the cracks.

There may be no better way to describe how a 6-foot-4 high-scoring guard ended up at little Collin College in McKinley, Texas, instead of on a Division I roster.

“Everything happens for a reason,” said Sherman, who scored 25.9 points per game and was the third-leading scorer at junior college Division I last season and had eight games of 35 points or more.

Sherman’s journey to Morgantown is indeed interesting.

Generally college prospects go to junior college to help become academically qualified, but Sherman was already qualified coming out of Thurgood Marshall High School.

And it wasn’t like he played for a high school team that college coaches rarely saw.

Thurgood Marshall’s roster also included John Walker, who was named Texas’ Class 5A player of the year in 2017. Walker went on to Texas A&M, but has since transferred to Texas Southern.

It also included Jabari Rice, now a redshirt sophomore at New Mexico State.

“We all averaged about 18 or 19 a game; we were really good,” Sherman said.

Yet, there was Sherman trying out for smaller Division II and III schools out of high school, none of which came through with a scholarship offer.

That’s when he visited Collin College, and the way Sherman tells the story is he started dribbling the ball between his legs and head coach Jim Sigona — a former assistant of John Beilein at LeMoyne — offered him a scholarship on the spot.

“I jumped on it,” Sherman said.

A few years later, the Mountaineers are set to jump on Sherman’s ability to put point on the board.

“He can score,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. “He’s very versatile. At his junior college, they had bigs who could make shots and so they spread the floor and isolated him. He’s a really consistent jump-shooter with a lot of range. He’s athletic and score it around the rim, too.”

After his freshman season, some schools began to take notice.

“Texas State offered me,” Sherman said. “I went to a junior college all-American camp and then some others came in like UTEP and UTSA.”

In the back of his mind, Sherman felt he was made for a bigger stage.

“I had to push forward and realize that I knew what type of player I am and I knew that I could get to this type of level,” Sherman said. “I was pushing myself to get here.”

He went back for his final season at Collin College betting on himself to make a bigger splash.

That didn’t take long.

In just his second game last season, he scored 43 points — “I only missed two shots that game,” he said. — and poured in another 41 two games after that.

In his first six games of the season, he was averaging 32.7 points and shooting 56 percent from 3-point range.

“One of our conference games against Ranger (College), I had 46,” Sherman said. “That’s when things really started to pick up for me.”

Suddenly, the kid no one wanted two years before had Pac-12 and Big 12 schools all over him.

“My main thing was staying humble,” Sherman said. “That’s a big thing for me. I’ve always been a humble person. Being underrated to not being underrated was definitely a big jump, but it was something that I strived for.”

He wants his transition to West Virginia to be as short as possible and feels playing defense for Huggins won’t be a total eye-opener.

“I feel like I can adjust here faster, because defense has always been a big part of my game,” Sherman said.

To be sure, Sherman is no longer a best-kept secret in college basketball since arriving in Morgantown.

“I’ve signed about four balls already and I haven’t even touched a ball yet,” Sherman said. “Hopefully, I’ll sign hundreds more once I do.”

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