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Bio information, video highlights and the latest rankings for all of Kentucky’s basketball commitments and recruiting targets for the class of 2021 and beyond. These pages include John Calipari’s quotes on the UK signees for next season, as well as the newest Crystal Ball predictions for the Wildcats’ top uncommitted targets.
UK basketball fans love it whenever a local high school player rises to the level of possible Wildcats recruiting target, a relatively rare occurrence during the John Calipari era.
If North Laurel guard Reed Sheppard reaches that status, the interest in his college recruitment will only be intensified. The 6-foot-2 prospect is the son of two UK basketball legends: Jeff Sheppard, the leading scorer on the men’s 1998 national title team; and Stacey Reed, one of the greatest players in UK women’s basketball history.
- Shooting guard | London, Ky.
- 6-foot-2, 175 pounds
- 247Sports: Not ranked
- Rivals.com:Not ranked
- ESPN.com:Not ranked
The national recruiting services haven’t gotten around to adding Sheppard to their rankings for the 2023 class yet, but he’s already making waves in Kentucky high school circles.
Sheppard averaged 20.6 points per game as a freshman for North Laurel before exploding as a sophomore, averaging 35 points — and making 43 percent of his three-point shots — over the team’s first 12 games, all victories. He’s reached 50 points on multiple occasions and still manages to achieve high assist totals despite his impressive scoring performances. It’s clear Sheppard will be able to dominate Kentucky high school opposition in the years to come, and he’s already scored 45 points in a win over perennial power Covington Catholic early in his sophomore season.
The biggest question regarding Sheppard’s game — one national analysts will look to answer and even one that local talent evaluators have been asking — is whether he’ll be able to achieve similar results against more highly touted opponents. Can he score and defend against the type of athletes that he would face at the high-major level? So far, he hasn’t gotten an opportunity to showcase his skills against such talent, with the COVID-19 pandemic largely wiping out the AAU and camp circuits in 2020.
While we’ll wait to see how Sheppard stacks up against the nation’s top young prospects, he certainly looks the part of a possible high-major recruit. His scoring ability is clear. He also rebounds and passes well, and he possesses athleticism on the perimeter that has drawn comparisons to his father.
His dad’s two former college coaches — Rick Pitino, now at Iona; and Tubby Smith, now at High Point — both extended early scholarship offers, and Iowa followed suit in January, becoming the first high-major school to offer. As his profile grows, speculation will only continue over UK’s involvement in his recruitment. Calipari hasn’t offered many in-state players in his decade-plus tenure at UK — and Jeff Sheppard’s critique of Calipari’s “one and done” approach a few years ago led to a public dust-up between the former UK star and current coach — so it will be interesting to see how the Cats approach Reed Sheppard’s recruitment.
His amazing performances will be impossible to ignore, and fans in Kentucky will be paying close attention as his basketball journey continues.
“You see everything on Twitter, you can’t control that, but we just keep coaching him hard and (help him) keep getting better. He’s had a really good season, so far. But he’s got a lot of areas to improve on, you know. He’s got a long way to go to get to where he wants to be. He’s got a pretty good support system that keeps him grounded.” — North Laurel head coach Nate Valentine
It’s obviously incredibly early in Reed Sheppard’s high school basketball career. He has two more seasons after this one, and the scholarship offers are likely to mount in the coming years. There are no major predictions yet on where he will end up in college, but future picks will be logged on his 247Sports page and Rivals.com FutureCast page.