Thursday, March 17, 2005
By Matt Hooper
One of only three seniors on the 2005 men’s basketball roster, Earnest Shelton has made the most of his final year with the Tide. No Alabama player has attempted or connected on more three-point shots than Shelton this season. The Memphis, Tenn. – product is a 1st team All-SEC player. In the following interview, Earnest talks about his completing his journey at the University of Alabama as well as who would come out on top in a shooting contest between himself and head coach Mark Gottfried.
You’re one of only a handful of seniors on this team. Tell us about how you have stepped up into more of a leadership role this season.
“Well, basically the coaches told me that I was going to have to step up and be a leader since I was one of just a few seniors that have a lot of playing experience. I’ve had a lot of help from people like Chuck [Davis] and Kennedy [Winston], but basically it’s just being the vocal person out there on the court for this team.”
Since you arrived at Alabama, how much have you progressed and matured as a player, both on and off the court?
“I think I have progressed a lot. Coming from my freshman year to my senior year I’ve worked hard. I’ve gotten stronger and faster and I just try to continue to work on my game. Off the court, I’ve just tried to grow up and be mature. Some of the things I used to do when I was a freshman I don’t do anymore. It has really been a great learning experience.”
You’re known as one of the best pure three-point shooters in school history. Your head coach, Mark Gottfried, was known as a pretty good shooter in his own right back in his playing days. In fact, going into the NCAA tournament, you and he are tied for 1st all-time at Alabama in single game 3-point field goals made. You both made a school record eight in a game. If you two could duel it out, with him in his prime, who wins?
“I have to say that I would win. I mean, he’s a great shooter, and he would probably say the same thing. It would be a tough match-up, but I think that down the stretch I would win it. I think I could edge him out.”
Both you and Kennedy Winston battle for the mantle of the team’s leading scorer every night and the title has gone back and forth all season long. Is there a rivalry between you two?
“No, we don’t get into all that. When you worry about that, then you have games where you are more concerned about your scoring than the ballgame. I enjoy playing with him. We laugh about it and talk about it, but we don’t worry about who scores the most. Some nights it can be his night and we will make sure we have the ball in his hand, other nights it will be my night. But he is a great player and a great scorer and we just have fun playing together and going out and finding ways to win.”
Finally, if you had the opportunity after you take off that crimson jersey for the final time to shape your own legacy, what would you want to be remembered for?
“I want to be remembered as a winner. I want to be remembered as somebody who competed. I want people to say that every time I stepped onto the court I left it all on the court and did what it took to win. If they say that about you then that is one of the highest praises you can earn.”