Reed Sheppard’s collegiate career is off to a fantastic start.
Kentucky is fresh off a 22-point win vs. No. 8 Miami at Rupp Arena, where Sheppard delivered another impressive performance that had college basketball buzzing about the freshman star.
ESPN’s Jonathan Givony moved Sheppard into the first round of his NBA Mock Draft Thursday, listing him at No. 25 in the latest update.
“Sheppard uses and rejects ball screens effectively to get into the paint off crossovers and hesitation moves, reading the floor with poise and patience and making the game easy for teammates by whipping the ball all over the court with outlet passes, finding cutters and rollers over the top, and with skip passes for open 3s,” Givony wrote about Sheppard. “He also is an outstanding shooter with deep range with his feet set and pulling up off the dribble, showing no hesitation getting into his jumper with a quick release and impressive confidence.
“Defensively, he generates turnovers instinctually with timely digs, traps and post-doubles, shooting the gap for steals, intercepting entry passes, flying around off the ball, and wreaking havoc with smart rotations to protect the rim. He’s got quick hands, and an even quicker mind, helping him compensate for his lack of physical tools, which show up at times with the way bigger players can shoot over the top of his limited length or overpower him one-on-one.”
Through seven games, Sheppard has totaled 22 steals. That is five ahead of Rajon Rondo’s pace he was on during his record-breaking season of 87 in 2004-05.
Enjoy him while you can, BBN.
I wrote about Sheppard for ESPN earlier today and his NBA outlook, which is increasingly appearing bright with every big time performance he has https://t.co/DPOhWYFNyi
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) November 29, 2023
Sheppard isn’t the only Wildcat projected to go in the first round. ESPN lists Justin Edwards (10), DJ Wagner (15), and Rob Dillingham (20) as projected first-round picks. Aaron Bradshaw is at No. 39 in the second round.