Marial Shayok is a 6’6” senior wing for the Iowa State Cyclones. After spending three seasons constrained by the context of a poor player-team fit within Virginia’s slow, methodical, grind-it-out style of play, Shayok sat out the 2017-18 season to facilitate his transfer to Iowa State. Shayok worked relentlessly on his game throughout his year off, and has taken his game to the next level. The Cyclones’ free flowing offense and a perpetual green light from Coach Steve Prohm, in conjunction with Shayok’s natural ability, hard work, and confidence, have catalyzed Shayok’s evolution into one of the Big 12’s top scoring threats.
Tale of the Tape
Shayok has always had some natural ability as a shooter, but was never able to get into a consistent rhythm throughout his tenure as a Cavalier, averaging only 1.3 3PA’s per game from his freshman through junior seasons. In his lone season as a Cyclone, Shayok has been unleashed from range, and is putting up more than 5 attempts from deep per game. Typically higher volume and usage is correlated with declining efficiency, however, Shayok has been able to convert from deep at just above his exact efficiency clip throughout his three seasons at Virginia, despite facing more defensive attention and taking more difficult looks. Shayok has proven to be a consistent catch-and-shoot threat in the half court, converting at a rate of 1.183 PPP, which ranks in the 76th percentile among Division 1 qualifiers.
While being a quality catch-and-shoot threat is certainly a prominent aspect of Shayok’s prospect profile, his unique counters as a close-out attacker are, perhaps, even more intriguing with respect to his NBA translatability. One of Shayok’s most effective go-to close-out counters is the side-step pull-up three. Shayok utilizes a believable, fundamentally sound pump fake to force a reaction from the overly aggressive close-out defender, creates space with a singular dribble and lengthy horizontal strides, keeps his body square to the basket, and quickly elevates into his high-release shooting motion. Shayok’s shot mechanics and 6’11” wingspan make it extremely difficult for the defender to adeptly react to this move in a way that alters the quality of Shayok’s look.
In the clip below, we highlight Shayok’s ability to get his defender up in the air, create separation with a side-step dribble, and knock it down from deep.
Another strength within Shayok’s offensive repertoire is a more traditional pull-up jump shot. As noted above, when Shayok has his three ball going, defenses are forced to run him off the line. Many NBA teams consistently utilize this defensive strategy in an effort to force the opposition into difficult, inefficient, contested long two-point attempts. Although long two’s are typically less preferred than looks at the rim or from three, it is essential to be able to create off the bounce and hit a pull-up mid-range jumper as a situational counter move and in late-clock scenarios.
Shayok has been a highly efficient long mid-range shooter, ranking in the 92nd percentile by converting at a rate of 1.091 PPP (54.5 FG%) on 17+ foot two-point attempts this season. Many of these attempts are derived from off-the-dribble pull-ups, a shot type that Shayok has converted at a 1.174 PPP clip, ranking in the 95th percentile.
As was noted with his side-step three-point acumen above, Shayok’s positional length and shot mechanics are essential to his off-the-dribble shooting consistency. Shayok steps into his shot, gets good rise and rhythm from his lower body mechanics, maintains a consistently high shooting pocket with consistent elbow alignment, and holds the follow through on his release. When gathering into his shooting motion off-the-bounce, the dribble is made with purpose, flows right to his hip, and seamlessly integrates into his shot without any wasted motion.
In the clip below, we will highlight Shayok’s pull-up shooting prowess.
The stark difference between Shayok’s senior year production at Iowa State as compared to his underclassman seasons at Virginia are a case-and-point example of the importance of contextualizing scheme, fit, and circumstance into the scouting evaluation process. Shayok has certainly made notable improvements to his game since his time at Virginia, but there was always unearthed potential masked by a poor situation/fit.
After having been all but dismissed as a potential NBA prospect, Shayok grabbed a hold of his basketball career, found a program at which he could flourish, and has thrust himself back onto the radars of NBA scouts. Despite being one of the older prospects in the 2019 draft class, the translatability of Shayok’s shooting versatility, positional length, and potential switchability make the Canadian wing a viable UDFA, Two-Way, and/or G League wing option. If Shayok prefers to go the overseas route, he has the chance to excel in a high-level European league and eventually make his way back to the States and get a shot in the NBA.
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