Former Witchita State guard Landry Shamet, who was one of the best shooters in college basketball, will be at the 2018 NBA Draft Combine.
Shamet, 21, is a 6-foot-4 combo guard who shined in the NCAA and was one of the most impressive players at the program after Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker transitioned to the pros. His progress after three seasons under head coach Gregg Marshall will be something worth watching as he attempts to do the same.
We caught up with Shamet as he prepared for the upcoming draft next month.
What are the main things you’ve done in Los Angeles to get ready for the draft?
Landry Shamet: It’s a lot different than my midwestern roots in Kansas City, that’s for sure. Outside of basketball, it’s great being here. The area and the facility I’m working at with my trainer Chris Gaston is great. I’m getting myself bigger and stronger and faster for the NBA game. I’m working on my body with cryotherapy and other tools and resources to increase the longevity of my game, it’s helping my recovery time. It’s been really cool to see all of the differences in everything. I’m working hard on a lot of different things.
I know you’re working with Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox this offseason. What are the main things you’ve learned working with him?
LS: It’s been good, he’s one of the fastest and most athletic players in the league. One of my things is transitioning to guarding freak athletes on a night-to-night basis. When I play against him, who is as quick as he is, has been amazing. I’m staying in front of him, I’m trying to contain him. He’s a really good player. We played in the Round of 32 and it’s one of the most fun games I’ve ever played. I guarded him all game and we’re both super competitive. I’ve learned tidbits and insights and more so, it’s just the competition. We play together for two-on-two stuff, too, and you can learn so much playing with a pro. We’re both really cerebral and get along really well.
People will talk a lot about your three-point shooting. How has the transition been to the NBA distance?
LS: I was thinking it’d be more difficult than it has been. But when I look at my game film, a lot of my three-pointers were from comfortably behind the collegiate three-point line. My range has always been there. I’ve been really working on it recently, though. I’m not changing anything mechanically, I’m just getting more reps in. I’m working with my same shooting coach. I’ve been with him since I was in fourth grade. He taught me how to shoot the ball and give me the form I have. He and I work in tandem on my jump shot. I feel really comfortable out there. I’m working on my midrange, pulling up on people. My jump shot is my baby and I’m continuing to get better and better.
One thing that really stands out is that you’re able to create your own shot. You can shoot off screens, handoffs. Is there anything else you think will translate to the NBA?
LS: I didn’t shoot a ton of midrange pull-ups in college. That may be something that’s unnoticed but I’m a better mid-range shooter than some may give me credit for. I think my mid-range game is pretty good, I can shoot off the dribble and off screens and making reads. I can pull up because I’m a longer guard. I can do that rather than go to the rim against more athletic bigs. If I find the pocket of space, I’m going to try and get it off quick. I’m comfortable with anything involving shooting. I can move without the ball coming off a pindown, which I didn’t get to do much in college because I was usually playing point guard and was more ball dominant. I can also shoot off flares and screens. It’s something I’m excited to show in the NBA.
You played alongside some future pros during your freshman year, Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker. What have they taught you about the next level?
LS: I just spoke with Ron the other day, actually. They were both helpful to figure out what to expect when hiring an agent. Both those guys are great. They were a big part of why I went to Wichita State. I know they were both NBA-caliber guards and I wanted to play with them and learn from them. I didn’t get to play with them because I was hurt. But that year was one of the biggest blessings in disguise because I got to watch and learn the approach. They were pros in every facet of the word. They continue to stay and touch and give me advice and I can call them whenever I have questions.
I really like your assist-to-turnover ratio and assist-to-usage ratio. How can you keep those strong when playing in the NBA?
LS: It just goes back to watching those two guys. They didn’t make the most spectacular play every time. It sounds simple but it’s always really what I rely on now. It’s important to be solid, you don’t have to hit a home run every time. The simple swing passes are crucial. You can find someone waiting in the corner. I don’t get out of my element, I know what I’m good at, I know how to get other guys involved. I know my teammates, when and where they’re going to be. I think that’s in my blood. It’s going to be an adjustment and those numbers might not be exactly the same right off the bat. But I adjust fast, learn fast. I pick up on things fast. I’ll make the right play. They’ll definitely translate because in doing my research, those are both stats that do translate well from college to the pros.
What are the biggest ways you’re able to hop on the floor and create offense for your team?
LS: When playing for Coach Marshall in his system, it was very complex and I had to know all five positions and what options I had for each and every set. I had close to sixty or seventy sets and multiple options on each one. I knew all that, watched a lot of game film, I knew how to play with or without the ball. I was always looking two passes ahead. I think it was great to play for his type of offense. VanVleet was masterful at orchestrating our offense, he was just always so patient and I try to do that too. I never try to go too fast. I try to make the defense make a decision and then react. I’ve been very lucky to be around the people I’ve been around.
What are you hearing about yourself that is standing out before the draft?
LS: I keep hearing that I’m a point guard’s point guard. One of my biggest strengths that I didn’t get to show a ton was playing off the ball. I’m very versatile. I don’t really feel I have a position. I’m like Malcolm Brogdon or CJ McCollum. I can be a secondary ballhandler who can facilitate or score. That’s something about me that is not getting a ton of attention because I was so ball-dominant in college. My IQ can standout when people are around me. They see how fast I can pick up on things. I pride myself on being a fast learner. I’m a bigger guard and I really know how to play with the ball and without it.
How would you describe your role on offense and defense for your team?
LS: The way the game is going, you almost have to have two point guards on the floor. Toronto would have Kyle Lowry and VanVleet and then sometimes even Delon Wright. When you have a ton of primary ballhandlers, they can handle it and do it all. I see myself as someone who can come in and be a guy like that. I can be a knockdown shooter. I have confidence in that, too. I know I can do that for any team. That’s what I do. I’ve done that forever. I’m never going to be a liability on offense. I’m not going to take high-volume shots and hurt your flow. I want to get others involved early and be solid. I want to guard guys like Fox or Lonnie Walker, who’s in my pre-draft workout class. I’m trying to guard multiple positions and stretch a ton on the defensive end. I’m a weapon and I want to help other guys get opportunities. I want to be a solid knockdown shooter and help us get wins.
Something I was surprised to hear is that you have a ridiculously impressive vertical leap. Is that something will shine at the combine?
LS: One of the things people question about me is my athleticism I think the combine will really help in that aspect. I’m athletic. I know I am. I don’t think I play that way all the time with flashy dunks, I’m not always playing at one thousand miles per hour. But I am way more athletic than I get credit for. The measurements and athletic testings will be huge.