Not many players get to brag about winning two national titles during their college basketball careers. Jeff Sheppard does on the other hand. Sheppard was a part of both the 1996 and 1998 national championship team during his time at Kentucky.
Sheppard was named NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player, All-NCAA Regional Team and All-SEC during his senior year in 1998. He scored a total of 1,091 points, which ranks him 48th overall in Kentucky basketball scoring history.
Here are some videos of Kentucky’s Great Dunking Guard:
Despite his successful college career, Sheppard’s NBA career was not the same. He played one season for the Atlanta Hawks during the 1998-99 season. Sheppard averaged 2.2 points and 1.2 rebounds in 18 games played.
Sheppard was not quite ready to end his basketball career. He decided to take his basketball skills overseas and played in Italy for the next three years. He played for Benetton Treviso, Cordivari Roseto and Wurth Roma before retiring in 2001 following the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
“I had some opportunities to come back over to Italy and play, but just felt like it was the right thing to do, stay with the family,” Sheppard said. “I kind of wish I’d given it one more shot, but didn’t.”
After the attacks on September 11, Sheppard and his wife, former Kentucky basketball player Stacey Reed, decided to settle down in London, KY. The two former Wildcats have two children, Madison and Reed. Sheppard enjoys coaching his kids’ sports team, as they both are avid athletes.
Sheppard worked in pharmaceutical sales for a little before becoming a successful businessman. He and his wife began their own company called 15inc., a private label apparel company that produces sports apparel for various companies.
In 2010, he was a part of a project by the University of Kentucky to restore video and audio from Kentucky’s 1958 National Championship. Sheppard was the vice president of business development of Wazoo Sports Inc. that helped digitize and restore the video.
Sheppard conducts an annual tour through Eastern Kentucky with Operation UNITE that organizes a series of basketball camps called “Shoot Hoops, Not Drugs.” The camps take place at local schools and give hundreds of kids the ability to improve their basketball skills and learn about the dangers of drug use.
“It’s just important that we keep fighting,” Sheppard said. “We never give up. Keep doing programs in each community that educate the kids and the parents and the grandparents and we keep striving for championships.”
Today Sheppard owns Sheppards Fan Shop in London, KY that sells officially licensed University of Kentucky, North Laurel, and South Laurel merchandise.