The best high school boys’ basketball player in Kentucky won’t be suiting up for the Kentucky Senior All-Stars in early June for a trio of highly anticipated games, including two meetings against the Indiana All-Stars.
Reed Sheppard, a 6-foot-3 guard and an incoming freshman on the UK men’s basketball team from North Laurel High School, won’t participate in the Kentucky All-Stars games in early June.
On Monday, Sheppard sent a letter to Scott Chalk, the executive director of the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches (KABC), stating that he would be unable to participate in the games with the Kentucky Senior All-Stars due to commitments Sheppard has as part of his enrollment process at UK.
The KABC and the Kentucky All-Star Selection Committee select the players for the all-star teams.
Chalk told the Herald-Leader that Sheppard’s spot on the team — which came after he was named Kentucky Mr. Basketball in March — will not be replaced. The Kentucky Senior All-Stars team will now only have 11 players.
On Wednesday, Sheppard moved into his dorm room and began his enrollment process at Kentucky, with the official UK men’s basketball team Twitter account posting photos of Sheppard and his family being greeted by UK basketball staffers.
— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) May 31, 2023
Additionally, Sheppard also won’t play in a tuneup game between the Kentucky Senior All-Stars and the Kentucky Junior All-Stars, which is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday at Eastern High School in Louisville.
This means a highly anticipated rematch between Sheppard and Lyon County’s Travis Perry, a top 2024 recruit who is on the Junior All-Stars team, won’t occur.
In January, Perry scored 45 points to lead Lyon County past Sheppard’s North Laurel team, 90-83, in a game that was played in Lexington. Sheppard had a triple-double in that game with 32 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists.
Perry is being recruited by UK, and is now the commonwealth’s all-time leading boys’ high school basketball scorer.
Sheppard, who is part of Kentucky’s top-ranked 2023 recruiting class, was to wear the ceremonial No. 1 jersey for the Kentucky boys’ All-Stars as the most recent Mr. Basketball winner.
While the Kentucky Senior All-Stars team represents top graduating talent from across the commonwealth, Sheppard was to be the headline attraction for this year’s games.
The list of accolades is lengthy for Sheppard, who is the son of former UK basketball players Jeff and Stacey Sheppard.
Sheppard helped lead North Laurel to consecutive 13th Region championships and appearances in the Sweet 16 to close his high school career.
As a senior last season, Sheppard averaged more than 22 points and eight rebounds per game.
He finished his high school playing career with 3,727 points, which would unofficially place him third on Kentucky’s all-time high school boys’ basketball scoring list.
Sheppard’s decision to commit to Kentucky for college basketball in November 2021, and to stick with that pledge, is also historic.
Sheppard is the 20th future Kentucky men’s basketball player to be named a Kentucky Mr. Basketball, and he’s set to be the first Mr. Basketball to go to UK since Pendleton County’s Dontaie Allen in 2019.
But Sheppard’s basketball supremacy hasn’t solely been on the local stage, either.
Sheppard, Wildcats will soon be in action
Sheppard and his fellow incoming Wildcats are about to hit the ground running in Lexington.
In addition to various academic orientation duties and the early stages of summer practice, Kentucky will soon be playing actual basketball games ahead of the 2023-24 season.
The Wildcats will be playing exhibition games in July in Canada.
Kentucky is participating in the “GLOBL JAM” in Toronto, a four-team event featuring squads from the United States, Canada, Germany and Africa.
The Cats, representing the United States, have games scheduled against under-23 teams from Germany (July 12), Canada (July 13) and Africa (July 15).
Gold-medal and consolation games will be played July 16.
The GLOBL JAM will be an advance look at the 2023-24 Wildcats, although Kentucky’s roster for next season is still very much in flux, with key players yet to make stay-or-go NBA Draft decisions and the NCAA transfer portal still full of players that UK could use.
As of Tuesday night, Kentucky currently has eight scholarship players for next season, with five of those players being freshmen.
Meet the 2023 Kentucky All-Star teams
The Kentucky All-Star teams are selected by the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches and the Kentucky All-Star Selection Committee.
Owensboro’s Rod Drake is head coach of the boys’ team and Boyd County’s Pete Fraley is the head coach of the girls’ squad.
In addition to Sheppard, the boys’ roster features: Marcus Eaves of Madisonville, Crew Gibson of DeSales, Kenyon Goodin of Collins, Jeremiah Israel of Lloyd Memorial, Cyr Malonga of Evangel Christian, Jacob Meyer of Covington Holy Cross, Teagan Moore of Owen County, Reece Potter of Lexington Catholic, Gabe Sisk of Ballard, Gerard Thomas of Henderson County and Chappelle Whitney of state champion Warren Central.
The girls’ roster features: Haven Ford (2023 Kentucky Miss Basketball) of Rowan County, Brianna Byars of George Rogers Clark, Kylee Dennis of Sayre, Emma Filiatreau of Bethlehem, Abby Holtman of Ryle, Whitney Lind of Cooper, Love Mays of Danville, Saniyah Shelton of Bowling Green, Ayden Smiddy of Southwestern, Destiny Thomas of McCracken County, JaKayla Thompson of Manual and Meadow Tisdale of Bowling Green.
Indiana leads the all-time boys’ series against the Kentucky All-Stars 102-44.
The Hoosiers swept last year’s games 101-81 and 104-77 to run their winning streak to seven games in a series that dates to 1940.
Indiana also leads the girls’ series, 52-40. This series dates back to 1976. The teams split their games in 2022.
KENTUCKY VS. INDIANA
Girls-boys basketball all-star doubleheaders
Friday, June 9: At Sportscenter in Owensboro
Saturday, June 10: At Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis
Note: There will be a Kentucky Junior All-Stars vs. Kentucky Senior All-Stars doubleheader on Saturday, June 3, at Eastern High School in Louisville. The girls’ game will be at 1 p.m. and the boys’ game will be at 3 p.m.