Men's Basketball
Reed Sheppard Tabbed NABC National Freshman of the Year

Reed Sheppard Tabbed NABC National Freshman of the Year

ATLANTA – Kentucky men’s basketball freshman guard Reed Sheppard was tabbed the 2023-24 National Association of Basketball Coaches National Freshman of the Year on Tuesday. Sheppard is the first winner from Kentucky to claim the honor which began awarding players in 2016-17.

The London, Kentucky, native has also been named the nation’s best freshman by the United States Basketball Writers Association, The Field of 68 and both ESPN’s Jeff Borzello and Dick Vitale. College Hoops Today tabbed Sheppard as the National Sixth Man of the Year.

Sheppard averaged 12.5 points per game and topped double-figure scoring in 21 games.

The 6-foot-3 guard led the team with 148 assists on the year. His 4.5 per game average ranked fourth in the league. The 148 assists rank as the eighth-most in single-season history by a UK freshman and he is the 28th player in program history to have 148 or more assists in a season.

Meanwhile, Sheppard was a nemesis defensively racking up 82 steals on the season. Since steals became an official stat in 1979, the 82 steals are the second-most by a UK player in program history trailing only Rajon Rondo (87).

He became the first player in UK history to register five steals in three-consecutive games, collecting five thefts against Ole Miss (Feb. 13), Auburn (Feb. 17) and LSU (Feb. 21). Rondo’s 2.559 per game average is UK’s single-season leader. No other player averaged at least 2.5 per game in program history. Sheppard ended the season logging 2.485 per game.

Sheppard is the only player in the country who has amassed at least 80 steals, dished out at least 145 assists and made at least 70 3-pointers through March 24.

Per, his 3-point percentage of 52.1% led the country, his true-shooting percentage (69.9%) ranked sixth and his effective field-goal percentage (67.9%) rated eighth.

Sheppard had the game of his life in UK’s come-from-behind win at Mississippi State on Feb. 27. He poured in a career-high 32 points and added five boards, seven assists, two blocks and two steals. Twenty-three of his points came after halftime. Eleven of them came in the final 93 seconds.

It was the only game of 30-or-more points, seven-plus assists, five-plus rebounds, two-plus blocks and two-plus steals in the NCAA this season and one of only 11 such games going back to 1996-97. It is only the second by an SEC player in that time frame.

He then nearly topped himself with a 27-point, six-rebound, five-assist performance in the upset of No. 4 Tennessee. Sheppard also sunk a career-high seven 3s in that win. Sheppard is the first Kentucky player in school history to have three games with at least 25 points, at least five boards and at least five assists in a single season.

Reed Sheppard Honors:

• NABC National Freshman of the Year
• USBWA Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Year
• SEC Freshman of the Year (coaches)
• All-SEC Second Team (coaches)
• All-SEC Second Team (AP)
• All-SEC Freshman Team (coaches)
• Dick Vitale’s “Diaper Dandy” of the Year
• Field of 68 Third-Team All-America
• Field of 68 National Freshman of the Year
• College Hoops Today (Rothstein) National Sixth Man of the Year
• ESPN National Freshman of the Year (Borzello)
• SEC Freshman of the Week (March 11)
• SEC Freshman of the Week (March 4)
• SEC Freshman of the Week (Dec. 26)
• SEC Freshman of the Week (Dec. 4)

For the latest on the Kentucky men’s basketball team, follow @KentuckyMBB on X/Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, and on the web at

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