Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard headed to Houston Rockets as third overall pick in NBA Draft

By Keith Taylor
Kentucky Today

It was a night of celebration for Reed Sheppard and the rest of his family.

The former Kentucky guard and Kentucky Mr. Basketball was selected as the third overall pick in the NBA Draft on Wednesday night in Brooklyn on his mom’s birthday.

“No more nerves,” Sheppard said on ESPN after his selection by the Rockets. “I’m super excited. This is awesome. Unbelievable — my mom’s birthday today, so it’s going to be a great night. Already has been a great night. So it’s awesome. I’m super thankful.”

Reed Sheppard, right, greets NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected third overall by the Houston Rockets during they first round of the NBA Draft (Photo by Julia Nikhinson, AP, via Kentucky Today)

Sheppard’s dad, Jeff Sheppard also was humbled by his son’s selection in the draft.

“(We are) just so thankful — overwhelmed with appreciation, so proud of Reed,” he said. “God’s been so good to our family. We’re so glad to be here.”

Stacey Reed agreed.

“We’re just blessed and thankful to be here and join with my family,” she said. “We’ve got 75 people — family and friends that are here and get to celebrate with them. It’s just an unbelievable day.”

Jay Bilas of ESPN called Sheppard ‘the best shooter in the draft.”

“What a meteoric rise for Reid Sheppard … he shot 52 percent from three last year for Kentucky. He makes great decisions in pick and roll situations. He can shoot it from deep. He can shoot it off the catch and shoots very well off the dribble.

“(He has) an elite passing feel, very low turnover rate and a very smart defender as well. He’s kind of a free-safety type defender. He gets a lot of steals, deflections and blocks and a very underrated athlete.”

Sheppard said he’s going to do whatever it takes to help the Rockets succeed.

“This is a guy going in,” he said. “He’s looking to learn, you know, he’s going to do whatever it takes to win. He’s going to if it’s not making threes right away, that’s getting teammates involved, whatever it takes to win and be on the court. I’m going to do whatever makes the team better.”

Former Kentucky coach John Calipari, now at Arkansas, was in attendance to support Sheppard and the rest of his former players.

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