Welcome to A10 Talk’s Top 25 Player Countdown. Each day, we publish a new article counting down the 25 best players in the Atlantic 10 this past season, as voted by our staff. Today, we feature #10 Shavar Newkirk of Saint Joseph’s.
Shavar Newkirk capped off his senior year by leading his team in scoring without star guards Lamar Kimble and Charlie Brown. After finishing with a 16-16 record, fourth in the Atlantic 10, the 6’0″ senior guard was the number one option for the squad and would be able to deliver. Despite tearing his ACL last season against George Washington, Newkirk was a co-recipient of the Jon P. Hilferty award as the Hawks’ MVP for the season. Newkirk would make Second Team All-Conference and become the 55th Hawk to score 1,000 career points. He continued to attack the rim with aggression and was able to create opportunities for himself and his teammates.
Newkirk would have spurts of great scoring outputs this season starting against one of their big 5 rivals La Salle. Although losing 81-78 On Feb 3, he would tally 30 points, four assists, seven rebounds, and would play all 40 minutes. Newkirk would shoot 70% from the three-point line, 70% from the charity-stripe, and 50% from the entire floor. On Feb 17 the Hawks would defeat the University of Duquesne 82-72 with Newkirk’s double-double performance with 26 points and 10 assists including zero turnovers. He would continue to shoot efficiently from the floor by shooting 10-11 from the free throw line and 47% from the field.
Newkirk would continuously try to lead the Hawks through the season, though the Hawks lost to URI to end their season on March 10, 90-87. He would score 18 points, deal out six assists with only one turnover, and grab eight rebounds. His games during this season after his ACL injury showed people his Philly fighting spirit and his commitment to lead the team through their injury issues.
11. On Oct 16, before the season began we ranked Newkirk as the 11-ranked player coming into the season. Having both Kimble and Brown Jr.in the lineup the prediction was that he would have open lanes and scoring opportunities as their opponents would focus more on their star players. Before his ACL injury, Newkirk would jump from being a eight points per game sophomore to a hard driving, New York style, player. He would average 20 points per game on 47% shooting from the floor as a junior.
12. Newkirk would more then double his game total of games played this season with 32. After only playing 12 games in his junior season, he would work diligently to recover and bounce back for his senior season. Not only was he able to recover and bounce back, but he was also was a leader. His senior leadership would turn an injury prone hawks team into a highly competitive team. With major losses of their star players, Newkirk not only stepped up but also showed up during the A-10 games this season. He gave the team pride and encouragement through a difficult season, and head coach of the Hawks, Phil Martelli, gave him the notice that he deserved.
That Philly Grind:
ACL injuries are no joke to a basketball player, especially non-contact ones. When the injury occurred, Newkirk was on the fast-break and as soon as he was gathering to go up for the layup, he lost the ball and knew that it wasn’t good. He would commit to himself and his team to recover make sure he was ready for next season. He did just that and made it even bigger impact, making St. Joe’s competitive in the A-10. He carried a leadership on and off the court with his work ethic and his dedication to Hawks’ nation and made sure to keep the Hawk’s wings flying in 2017-18 season. He will be missed as a baller at SJU.
Previously: #11 E.C. Matthews