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Auburn's Tahj Shamsid-Deen shows his toughness
Feb. 3, 2015

TahjShamsidDeen
With a brace in place, Auburn's Tahj Shamsid-Deen performs a little dribbling magic at Tennessee

By Charles Goldberg
AuburnTigers.com

AUBURN, Ala.  Tahj Shamsid-Deen is the smallest Auburn player on the basketball court. And to hear his teammates tell it, the toughest.

The sophomore is playing with two bum shoulders. There's the one that could pop out any time. And then there's the other one that could pop out any time. Shamsid-Deen calls them "little injuries" and the pain doesn't last long. Auburn's training staff says he can't hurt the shoulders any worse by playing, and playing is what Shamsid-Deen wants to do.

"He' not the one to sit out…it's just not Tahj," said teammate Malcolm Canada. "He doesn't care, he can have a broken leg; he is going to try and run on it."

Shamsid-Deen, who plays with a shoulder brace, held together to score a gutty 14 points at Tennessee last Saturday and provided an early spark and lead to a game that slipped away. He and Auburn will try their luck again at LSU on Thursday night.

"I'm not one of those guys who likes to sit out if it's just like a little injury," Shamsid-Deen said. "I'm just trying to play through what I got right now, and after the season I'll take care of what I'll take care of.

"It's not like it hurts. My shoulder is just a little bit loose. It's really no pain while I'm playing unless I get hit a certain way. Sitting out is not going to do anything, so I might as well play." 

The shoulders have knocked him out of games. And he's missed one entirely. He says he goes through rehab twice a day to strengthen his shoulder.

And at 5-foot-9, 170, Shamsid-Deen says he has something else to prove.

"People think it's a tall man's sport and only tall players can play this game," he said. "I know I have to play 10 times harder than anybody else because of my size."

Shamsid-Deen was Auburn's point guard last season. This year, he's played point guard and shooting guard, and serves as an example to his teammates.

"Toughest guy on our team," Canada said.

Shamsid-Deen is still trying to find his shooting touch. "The brace is kind of heavy, but I'm still trying to figure out ways to make it easier on myself to get my shots up." He succeeded in the game at Tennessee, hitting six of his 12 shots.

"Those shots came to me," he said. "I'm not one to go hunt and look for shots. The shots that I took were presented to me throughout our offense throughout the course of the game."

Auburn coach Bruce Pearl says he appreciates Shamsid-Deen's play.

"It is a toughness. And a willingness to play knowing that at any time either one of those shoulders could come out," Pearl said. "The non-shooting shoulder is the one that is more seriously injured. If it is a possibility at the end of the season to have surgery, then we will look into that. He has to play with the pain and discomfort and fear of it coming out again. 

"There are some things that he won’t do; 50-50 balls he can't go get, certain charges he can't take. But even without the ability to do some of those things he is still terrifically effective. He is almost always the littlest guy on the floor. He almost always represents us well; he really represented us well on Saturday. 

"He is a strong kid. If he wasn't so strong I don't think the trainers would have let him play. But he is so strong in his upper body, so he has some pretty good protection."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter:

 

 

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