NBA

Reed Sheppard on Recording A 42-Inch Vertical At The Draft Combine: ‘I Wasn’t Expecting It’

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - DECEMBER 21: Reed Sheppard #15 of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots the ball in the first half against the Louisville Cardinals at KFC YUM! Center on December 21, 2023 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Reed Sheppard recorded a 42-inch vertical at the NBA Draft Combine, topping the list of present prospects. However, like many who were watching, the former Kentucky Wildcat was surprised it turned out that way.

In a segment of Podcast P, Sheppard shared what went on in his head at the combine and the funny memes created after.

I know I can jump, but I didn’t know I was gonna have the highest vertical at the NBA Draft. I gotta give a lot of credit to my guy, Ryan, at Proactive. You know, he kinda helped us out with a little arm trick. I was able to get a couple more inches.

I looked up and when I saw 42, it kinda made me laugh because I wasn’t expecting it and I know no one else is expecting it. 

The guys that I grew up playing with and stuff who were at the Combine as well, they all were making jokes about it. But there was some pretty funny stuff on Twitter. It was like edited and he was like eight feet in the air shooting a jump shot and they were like, ‘Reed Sheppard next year in the NBA.

It was funny seeing some of the stuff that outside people were saying about it.

Reed Sheppard on recording the highest vertical jump in this year’s Draft Combine

In a “weak” draft class with no clear No. 1 pick, Sheppard could surprise many. However, most mocks tap Alexandre Sarr, Nikola Topic, or Zaccarie Risacher as potentials to go first overall. Nevertheless, Sheppard is firmly in the top 10 on many draft boards.

According to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo, the 19-year-old is number one in analytics-created draft models right now.

Sheppard measured a little bigger than expected at 6’3″ in shoes while testing a 42-inch vertical leap in Chicago. He also looked like the clear-cut best shooter in the draft every time he had a ball in his hands — both at the combine and his pro day in Los Angeles this week. Several teams have said that Sheppard’s statistical profile — with his incredible scoring efficiency (56% FG%, 52% 3P%, 83% FT%) combined with his excellent steal, block and passing metrics — have him ranked as the No. 1 prospect in their draft models, something that surely has caught the attention of analytically inclined front offices, such as the Houston Rockets.

Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo on Reed Sheppard

Givony and Woo added that it’s highly likely that Sheppard won’t go past No. 5 in the draft. The San Antonio Spurs own the fourth pick in the draft and could swoop in Sheppard to pair with Victor Wembanyama.

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