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Stanford Basketball Player Profile: Josh Sharma

The 7-footer provides great rim protection, but it comes at the cost of a lot of fouls.

NCAA Basketball: Stanford at California John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
Stanford sophomore center Josh Sharma
Stanford Athletics

Josh Sharma finished out the 2015-16 season playing his best basketball of the season. During the final 6 games of the year, Sharma had earned more consistent minutes. Netting about 12 and 12 minutes per game. The uptick in time on the floor had everything to do with Sharma’s abilities to play defense.

The 7-footer uses his length to his advantage and does a nice job of providing rim protection. Despite playing less than 8 minutes per contest last season, Sharma averaged a block per game. He also had an impact on several other shot opportunities near the basket.

The issue here, as it can be with shot blockers, is that Sharma is extremely prone to foul trouble. During his Freshman season, Sharma was issued 5 fouls and was disqualified from the game in 11 minutes — twice. On average, Sharma is whistled for a foul every 4:46.

The worry here isn’t necessarily about needing his availability on the floor. Between Reid Travis, Michael Humphrey, Grant Verhoeven, and Trevor Stanback there are plenty of able bodies to play on the Stanford frontline. Should the Stanford big men stay healthy, there is probably only 15 minutes at a maximum for Sharma to play in any given night. So, in this sense, the fouls don’t matter.

However, Sharma is usually called against in scenarios when opponents are going to the hoop — resulting in free throws for his opponent.

The balance between how many points Sharma’s rim protection keeps off the scoreboard and how many trips to the line Sharma surrenders will be a delicate balance for Haase to consider this season.

This is the big question for Sharma going forward. Can he find a way to play aggressively by swatting and altering shots without drawing a whistle from the official?

Lastly, Sharma’s offensive game is in need of much improvement. Operating at close distances Sharma scored on 47.8% of his shots. He also shot 38.5% from the free throw line.

Last season, when Sharma stepped onto the floor for Stanford, it clogged up the Cardinal offensively. Josh wasn’t a viable threat to opposing defenses and Stanford would essentially be playing 4-on-5 offensively with all attack occurring on the outside. Which was a problem, due to Stanford’s barren 3-point shooting abilities.

Hopefully, Sharma has improved his offensive game to make defenses pay if they sag off of him.

Sharma is an interesting player. He is a project. Fortunately, Stanford have the depth to allow Sharma to develop further. Look for him to take some positive steps forward during his sophomore season.

Here are Josh Sharma’s career numbers:

Season Games Played Minutes Played FG-FGA FG% 3FG-3FGA 3FG% FT% eFG% Rebounds per game Blocks per game Steals per game Points per game PER (Player Efficiency Rating)
2015-16 26 305 22-46 47.8 1-6 16.7 38.5 48.9 1.5 0.9 0.2 1.9 13.7