Reed Sheppard impressing the right people in AAU play

·4 min read

Fast-break points from another Kentucky Derby mess:

21. Reed Sheppard. Playing this past weekend for AAU team Midwest Basketball Club, the Kentucky Wildcats legacy apparently made a strong impression on ESPN National Recruiting Director Paul Biancardi.

20. A positive evaluation. After observing Sheppard in the Big Shots Rock the Rock exposure event in Rock Hill, S.C., Biancardi wrote on Twitter that the North Laurel High School guard showed “excellent shooting mechanics and touch from all levels. Vision and accuracy to deliver the pass with an open teammate mentality. Fundamentally sound with his footwork as well.”

19. Interesting list of schools. According to Biancardi, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville and Virginia “are all pursuing” the 6-foot-2 Sheppard — who, you may have heard, is the son of former UK basketball stars Jeff Sheppard and Stacey Reed.

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18. CJ Fredrick. It is easy to be impressed with the 46.6 percent three-point shooting percentage that the new Kentucky Wildcats guard put up in his two seasons starting in the Iowa backcourt.

17. More than a shooter. Don’t sleep on the 6-3 guard’s almost 3-to-1 assists-to-turnovers ratio (121 assists, 42 turnovers) in his time at Iowa, however.

16. Right at home in Rupp Arena. While leading Covington Catholic to the 2018 state title, Fredrick averaged 27.8 points in the Colonels’ four games in Rupp and made 35 of 55 field goals, 10 of 18 three-pointers and 31 of 33 foul shots.

In four games for Covington Catholic in the 2018 Kentucky Sweet Sixteen in Rupp Arena, CJ Fredrick, left, averaged 27.8 points per game while leading the Colonels to the state title.
In four games for Covington Catholic in the 2018 Kentucky Sweet Sixteen in Rupp Arena, CJ Fredrick, left, averaged 27.8 points per game while leading the Colonels to the state title.

15. Bob Davis. When the iconic former Georgetown College men’s basketball coach passed away in March at age 93, it left a void for current Tigers head man Chris Briggs.

14. Launched the Georgetown basketball dynasty. Hired as head coach at his college alma mater in 1953, Davis went 415-182 in 21 seasons. He led the Tigers to their first eight trips to the NAIA National Tournament, including GC’s initial Fab Four in 1958 and first appearance in the NAIA national finals in 1961.

13. Left for the SEC. In 1973, Auburn lured Davis to The Plains as the Tigers head coach.

12. Beat UK three times. In five seasons as Auburn head man, Davis went 70-61. He beat Kentucky three times in his first five meetings against the Wildcats as Auburn coach but finished 3-7 overall vs. UK.

11. Tuesday lunch group. When Briggs was named Georgetown College head coach in 2011, Davis, who was retired and living in Georgetown, invited the new Tigers head man into his regular Tuesday lunch group.

10. Friend and mentor. “I got to know him better, listen to his stories and get advice from him,” Briggs says. “He was just an amazing friend and mentor through these last 10, 11 years.”

9. Stayed current. Even after Davis was in his late 80s and early 90s, Briggs says the former coach was conversant with modern college basketball. “He would comment on the opposing teams we played, what they were running offensively and defensively, how teams were trapping the post and those kind of things,” Briggs says.

8. Tales from Auburn. Under current coach Bruce Pearl, Auburn has become a serious player in college hoops. During Davis’ coaching tenure (1973-78) there, the school apparently was not quite as ready to go big in hoops.

7. Don’t hurt football. Says Briggs: “(Davis) would tell stories of going down (to Auburn) and how they were all about football. He wanted to get down there and make some noise, raise some money for the basketball program. But a lot of people (at Auburn back then) didn’t want to take anything away from the football program.”

Current Georgetown men’s basketball coach Chris Briggs says the late Bob Davis, an ex-coach at both Georgetown College and Auburn, was “a friend and a mentor.” Davis died in March at 93.
Current Georgetown men’s basketball coach Chris Briggs says the late Bob Davis, an ex-coach at both Georgetown College and Auburn, was “a friend and a mentor.” Davis died in March at 93.

6. A new sports hall of fame for Madison County. A new organization whose goal is to honor the best in sports history from Madison County has been formed.

5. Familiar names. Among those on the 13-person Board of Directors for the new Madison County Sports Hall of Fame are former VMI men’s basketball coach Bart Bellairs (chairman), ex-EKU publicists Karl Park (vice-chair) and Jack Frost and former University of Kentucky radio announcer Ralph Hacker.

4. A chance to nominate for induction. The plan is to set up a website that will allow those wishing to put forward names for enshrinement in the Madison County Sports Hall of Fame or those interested in becoming financial sponsors of the Hall to do so.

3. Bob Baffert. I was a little taken aback Sunday by how many people on Twitter seemed to be experiencing schadenfreude over news the Baffert-trained Medina Spirit may lose his victory in the 147th Kentucky Derby after the horse had a positive test for betamethasone, a pain killer.

2. The face of the Kentucky Derby. For general sports fans, the silver-haired Baffert — winner of two Triple Crowns and seven (for now) Derbys — is American horse racing.

1. Bad for the sport. If you have any kind of emotional investment in the horse racing industry, Baffert potentially ending up discredited is bad news.

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