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NCAA Profile: Jeff Sheppard

Mostly every player that has donned the blue and white is beloved by the Big Blue Nation. This is especially true if you were able to help raise one of the eight National Championship banners that hang in Rupp Arena. One of those guys is Jeff Sheppard. Sheppard is one of those truly special players in Kentucky Basketball history because he was on both the ’96 and ’98 Championship teams. The NCAA has started a “Where are they now?” segment on their website, and the most recent story was about Sheppard and his life after Kentucky basketball.

After leading the Kentucky Wildcats to the 1998 NCAA championship with his Most Outstanding Player performance, Jeff Sheppard played four years of professional basketball before settling down to raise a family in London, Ky., which is located 70 miles south of the Lexington’s UK campus.

Sheppard and his wife, the former Stacey Reed, met at Kentucky where she also played basketball for the Wildcats. The couple has two children — a 12-year-old daughter Madison and an eight-year-old son Reed. Madison, a seventh-grader, plays on her middle school girls’ basketball team, while Reed plays on an AAU team — the Kentucky Playmakers, coached by Sheppard.

The Sheppards own and operate a company called 15inc., which supplies organizations, groups and business with the latest in apparel and promotional items. “If you can put a logo on it, we can get it for you!” their web site claims.

Stacy is also in full-time ministry as the director of the Backpack Club, which feeds between 1,000 and 1,400 kids weekly in the Sheppard’s community. The Sheppards are frequent speakers at schools, basketball camps and clinics, and are active within their church and community.

Give this article a read… and if you have a Jeff Sheppard story, or favorite moment, feel free to let us hear it in the comments section.

Article written by Rashawn Franklin

27 Comments for NCAA Profile: Jeff Sheppard

  1. Patrick Butler
    8:07 pm October 22, 2012 Permalink

    can picture Sheppard coming off that curl, stroking a jumper, like it happened yesterday what a player!

  2. UKcat98
    8:14 pm October 22, 2012 Permalink

    Shared a couple of math classes with Sheppard. Class act! Asked him for an autograph in 96 and he responded by having the entire team sign a T-shirt for me.

  3. Ryan
    8:15 pm October 22, 2012 Permalink

    I seem to recall Jeff taking off just inside the free-throw line and dunking on about 3 Arkansas players. I have wanted to see that dunk again for several years, but it is nowhere to be found.

  4. True Story
    8:17 pm October 22, 2012 Permalink

    I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in fifth grade. While I was admitted to UK’s Children’s Hospital, Jeff came and visited me. This was at the peak of Pitino’s heyday, at a time when this young KY boy was still learning what it meant to be a Wildcat fan. A few weeks later when I was at church for the first time, Jeff came and sat with me during the morning sermon. In those two moments I felt like I had been touched by an angel. Long story short, a few of the KY players visited our church on a semi-regular bases. Wslter, Pope, Shep and Mills were the usual suspects. Walter belted out quite a few songs and actually had a good voice. Anyways, this is my Jeff Sheppard story. He’s a hell of a guy.

  5. Mark Smith
    8:18 pm October 22, 2012 Permalink

    He led the ’98 team to the title- MVP.

  6. Jeff
    8:19 pm October 22, 2012 Permalink

    I’ve never met Jeff but I knew Stacey and the Reed family growing up. Tremendously nice people. Great story that brought a smile to my face.

  7. David
    8:31 pm October 22, 2012 Permalink

    There was a good feature in in April ’12:

    “How A Career Ends: Jeff Sheppard, Kentucky‚Äôs Great Dunking Guard, Quit Because Of 9/11”

    Really great read.

  8. Fake Kermit
    9:12 pm October 22, 2012 Permalink

    I always loved how he swung up off the rim and it would look like
    his was going to hit it while dunking. That and his humble, steady,
    southern drawl at press conferences

  9. catfan68
    9:29 pm October 22, 2012 Permalink

    You have to love this guy…what a class act.

  10. ChairmanRowe
    9:31 pm October 22, 2012 Permalink

    The last year I went to UK basketball camp was also the first year that the players were allowed to work at them. Jeff Shepard was my coach that week. I ran into him at the Euclid Mcdonalds a few months later, and he actually remembered my name. That’s a pretty awesome thing when your 14. That’s why he’ll always be one of my favorites. Also, my other memory of that camp was Jeff Sheppard and another player (I want to say Aminu Timberlake) constantly mocking Chris Harrison.

  11. fish on
    9:42 pm October 22, 2012 Permalink

    white man cud jump! out of the gym… and shoot the ball… 2 time champ… final 4 mvp!!!

  12. Tyler
    9:48 pm October 22, 2012 Permalink

    Jeff Sheppard came and visited my school when I was in the fourth grade and he always has been one of my favorite UK players of all-time Such a grounded person despite his fame here and it’s good to know he is still living in Kentucky.

  13. barn
    10:02 pm October 22, 2012 Permalink

    jeff won the state of georgia high jump title when he was in high school. think about that. it would have been awesome if he and king rex could have played together

  14. Steve
    10:09 pm October 22, 2012 Permalink

    Jeff has been a great help to us in getting our business started, and is never to busy to return a call. He was on the cover of our first product, a feat we consider one of our best accomplishments. A really solid guy, proud he is a Wildcat.

  15. Carl
    10:42 pm October 22, 2012 Permalink

    What some of you youngsters might not remember, Sheppard severely sprained his ankle during the 98 tournament and basically spent 24 straight hours getting it treated so he could play…and since I’m getting old I can’t remember whether it was the sweet sixteen/elite eight week-end or final four.

  16. Iucansukabigblue.....
    11:00 pm October 22, 2012 Permalink

    I’ll never forget seeing him dunk from the free throw line during Big Blue Madness. I think back then it was actually midnight. Without a doubt one of the most beloved Wildcats. Him winning the championships just adds to the prestige.

    You have made many of us proud Mr. Sheppard. Seems like yesterday you were celebrating with Mills on the night we got #7. Tears…

    Go Big Blue!!!

  17. james luckett
    11:05 pm October 22, 2012 Permalink

    His speech at Bill Keightly’s memorial was one of the most touching things I’ve ever heard. What a genuine, decent young man. Makes me proud to be a Wildcat.I wish I knew him.

  18. bigdkt
    11:33 pm October 22, 2012 Permalink

    #15, I am pretty sure he turned his ankle during the SEC tournament in Atlanta.

  19. mike
    11:54 pm October 22, 2012 Permalink

    Loved watching Jeff when he was playing, man he could dunk, was my favorite player at that time, always thought he was a nice guy, now after reading what everybody writing about him I guess he is, good for you Jeff, there nothing you can do in life thats better then to have people saying nothing but good things about you. Thanks for all

  20. catdaddyd
    12:03 am October 23, 2012 Permalink

    He had a dunk against IU in DEC ’97 in the RCA dome that was amazing. Never met him, but it’s nice that a lot of you guys post memories of him off the court. One of my all time favs.

  21. FurdTurgason
    12:08 am October 23, 2012 Permalink

    There was a story in S.I. that talked about how that 98 team came together. It might have been the championship special issue, but anyway…early in the season against Ohio U some hack was guarding Sheppard and making him mad with his grabbing and pushing. So Padgett had him set the guy up for a pick. Padgett ended up almost knocking the guy out of the game. His teammates respected him.

  22. Zeeee
    12:36 am October 23, 2012 Permalink

    I married Jeff Shepherd when I was in the fourth grade.

  23. Duke Sucks
    12:38 am October 23, 2012 Permalink

    Met Shepard in 98 and he was very friendly. The most impressive thing to me is. Given the fish bowl that UK players live in plus all the work he’s done all across the state I’ve never seen ANY negative comments about him. Not even 1. Due to his work he probably has came in to contact with more Kentuckians then any other UK player and still no one has nothing bad to say about him! That’s a class act and a genuine good guy. UK was better for having him.

  24. fish on
    8:27 am October 23, 2012 Permalink

    was the injury against stanford in the semi-final game? cant remember either…

  25. Stroker Ace
    8:51 am October 23, 2012 Permalink

    My favorite Jeff Sheppard moment occurred in the summer of 1996 at the Laurel County Fairgrounds in London, KY. Jeff’s wife Stacey is from London and he was frequently at the Fairgrounds to watch her play softball. We were playing in a tournament one weekend and one of our players got injured and couldn’t play, and somehow we convinced Jeff to suit up and play a game with us until we could get someone else to come take our injured player’s place.

    Jeff kept telling us he hadn’t picked up a bat since early childhood, and it was obvious from watching him swing, but I don’t think he made an out the whole game because he kept hitting slow rollers to 3B and he’d take about 2 strides and be standing on 1st before the third baseman could even pick up the ball. He played RF and also managed to gun down a runner trying to go from 1st to 3rd on a single. The best part was, the runner he threw out is a die-hard Louisville fan and he got plenty of trash talked to him when he sheepishly walked back to the dugout.

    The best part was, Jeff & I had a few mutual friends and one of them asked him if he wanted to go grab a bite to eat after the game. Jeff not only agreed, but he rode with me, so as a 18 year old recent high school graduate, having my favorite player hanging out with me made for quite an afternoon. I told Jeff I was enrolled at UK and would be starting in a few months and he graciously spent some time talking to me about campus life and some stuff I needed to check out once I got there.

    For a guy just a few months removed from winning the 1996 NCAA title, he was the most down-to-earth athlete I’ve ever met and even now, always 20 years later, I still remember getting to hang out for a few hours with one of my all-time favorite Wildcats.

  26. Ricky Penetrator
    10:11 am October 23, 2012 Permalink

    He tried to sell me his SEC tournament tickets down in Nashville in 2010 – was asking too much though.

  27. RobCary
    2:10 pm October 23, 2012 Permalink

    Jeff was already attending UK when I moved to Peachtree City, GA, his home town. He was well known and was the reason that there were a large number of KY fans in that area. One of my friends who lived there told me this ‘Jeff’ story.

    He was playing tennis on an outdoor court next to an outdoor basketball court. There were several young guys playing in a typically rough playground game. As my friend was leaving he stopped briefly to watch some of the action. He said his mouth dropped open when this slender kid grabbed the ball and took off just inside the free throw line and slammed the ball in a thunderous dunk. He turned and asked someone “who is that”? Someone filled him in that it was Jeff Shepherd. My friend was significantly impressed.