Cameron Mills says Jeff Sheppard has "no issue" with Calipari, would let his son play at UK

by:Jack Pilgrim02/11/21


Just a sophomore in high school, North Laurel standout guard Reed Sheppard has quickly become Kentucky’s most intriguing prospect, averaging a smooth 33.6 points per game through 13 outings, including numerous 50-plus-point performances.

And it certainly doesn’t help that his parents, Jeff and Stacey Sheppard, were both Kentucky basketball standouts, with the former being a two-time national champion at Kentucky in 1996 and 1998 and the latter ranked 13th on UK’s all-time scoring list, sixth in all-time assists and second in career steals.

When you combine the class of 2023 star’s current success and the past success his parents both saw as Kentucky Wildcats, fan interest is understandably high. And as a result, the Big Blue Nation wants UK head coach John Calipari to do whatever it takes to land the 6-foot-1 guard out of London, KY when it comes time for him to pick a school.

What are the chances of that happening, you ask? Well, despite behind-the-scenes rumblings of Jeff Sheppard and Calipari not being on the greatest of terms, the former Wildcat’s past teammate and longtime friend, Cameron Mills, says Jeff would be happy to send his son to UK if the opportunity presents itself.

“BBN, Let me be clear regarding one of my best friends. Jeff Sheppard would never stand in the way of his son playing for the team that he, himself dreamed of being on, won national championships with, and currently pulls for,” Mills tweeted Wednesday evening. “And there is no issue between he and Cal. Zero.”

The rumors of Sheppard and Calipari potentially butting heads stems from the former Wildcat’s criticisms of the current UK head coach and his one-and-done approach back in 2013.

“I personally think maybe there’s a little bit too much emphasis on celebrating first-round draft picks,” Sheppard said in a previous interview with Kyle Tucker, then of the Courier-Journal. “I’d rather be celebrating national championships.”

Sheppard also said he would be more comfortable visiting Rick Pitino at Louisville than he would be with Calipari at Kentucky, as the latter was once “the enemy.”

“As crazy as it sounds, I can walk into the University of Louisville’s basketball office and feel more comfortable there because Coach Pitino’s there,” Sheppard added. “When a player plays for a coach, there’s a very special bond there. So when I go to Kentucky, I didn’t play (for) Coach Calipari – and as a matter of fact, I played against him … and he and Coach Pitino are still rivals, so for me, he’s … he’s the enemy. He’s not the enemy, but that’s how it (feels).”

In a new interview with Jon Hale of the Courier-Journal, Jeff Sheppard said Reed is going to take the recruiting process slowly and focus on high school for a while before turning his attention to college and where he may play at the next level.

“Just kind of with a one-day-at-a-time approach,” Sheppard said. “Reed has done a pretty good job just kind of staying focused on school and his team, kind of each day at practice and the high school games he’s getting to enjoy and play.”

They’re also hoping recruiting restrictions are lifted and the live evaluation period returns, giving coaches the opportunity to see Reed play in person.

At that point, the Sheppard family will know where he stands against other elite competition and help Reed decide on a school.

“Then at that time we’ll really start to, No. 1, know where he is on the national level,” Sheppard said. “He’s been playing on the national level for a long time, but a lot changes with a boy especially between 13, 14, 15 and 16 and then on up to when they’re playing 17U as well. I think this summer is an important summer, and we’ll kind of see how things play out there.”

Bring keep him home, Coach Cal.

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