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BBN Jam Elite Eight: (1998) Sheppard & Mohammed vs. (2015 White) Towns & Booker

One seeds have taken the competition behind the proverbial woodshed and beaten their opponents to a pulp. Karl-Anthony Towns and Devin Booker are our last hope for a BBN Jam Final Four that isn’t all chalk.

The Platoon Squad’s freshmen will go head to head with Tubby Smith’s 1998 National Champions, Jeff Sheppard and Nazr Mohammed. Who’s the best of the best? You must decide.

TALE OF THE TAPE

Nazr Mohammed came to Kentucky as a project. Never in good enough shape for Rick Pitino’s standards, he transformed into an All-SEC performer as a junior under Tubby Smith. He would go on to play in the NBA for 18 years (EIGHTEEN!) after being selected with the 29th overall pick in the ’98 NBA Draft. That does not pertain to this matchup at all. I just think that no matter how often you say Nazr spent 18 years in the NBA, it is never not shocking.

Double negatives aside, Nazr would have to play out of his mind to contain the Big KAT. A consensus Second Team All-American selection, the only thing stopping the 2015 from becoming undefeated was an uncalled shot clock violation and Coach Cal’s stall ball. No matter what Wisconsin threw at Towns, he could not be contained in the paint. Unfortunately, UK quit feeding Towns early in the shot clock in the waning minutes of that fateful Final Four game. But we’re not here to talk about that Final Four game, we’re here to talk about the BBN Jam Final Four.

While KAT owned the interior, Booker was certainly more consistent from long range than Sheppard. The 1998 Final Four MOP played bigger than his 6’3″ size at small forward. He could use his physicality to take advantage of the younger Booker. Even so, Sheppard at his best in the final month of his career might not be better than Booker’s best in February of 2015 when he knocked down 20-of-28 threes over a seven-game stretch.

Could the young guns pass by the experienced National Champs from 1998? It’s your choice.

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR