Kentucky star Reed Sheppard makes another big move in basketball recruiting rankings

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The ascent of Kentucky basketball star Reed Sheppard continues.

Sheppard — a 6-foot-3 combo guard from North Laurel High School and the son of two former UK basketball standouts — moved from No. 62 to No. 17 nationally in the latest class of 2023 rankings from 247Sports, which updated its list Wednesday afternoon.

The rankings move is the latest result of Sheppard’s spectacular summer on the Adidas circuit, where he established himself as one of the best backcourt players in the country and earned a scholarship offer from Kentucky, among several other major college programs.

Earlier this fall, Rivals.com moved Sheppard to the No. 21 spot in its 2023 rankings, and 247Sports analysts had also been praising his play throughout the summer.

“He’s one of those kids that impresses me every time I see him,” 247Sports analyst Travis Branham told the Herald-Leader recently. “Just a very mature player. He always makes the right basketball play. He has an extremely high floor as a basketball player — he’s very well-rounded. He’s a very good shooter from three, off the catch and bounce. He’s a great passer. He makes really good decisions with the basketball. He rebounds well for the position. He competes. Every time I’ve seen him this summer, I’ve come away more impressed.”

Branham reported on Wednesday that Sheppard will be in Lexington on Friday night for Big Blue Madness.

Sheppard is the son of former Kentucky basketball standouts Jeff Sheppard and Stacey Reed Sheppard. His father told the Herald-Leader last month that the family was planning to visit Louisville, Kentucky, Ohio State and Virginia in the fall. All four schools have extended early scholarship offers. He also took a late summer visit to Indiana, which has also offered.

UK already hosted Sheppard for an unofficial visit late last month, and Kentucky Coach John Calipari has also been to North Laurel for an in-school visit with the local standout this fall.

Sheppard led the state in scoring with 30.1 points per game as a sophomore, shooting 40.9 percent from three-point range.

Top recruits visiting Kentucky

Five-star point guard DJ Wagner remains the No. 1 player in the 247Sports rankings for 2023, the same spot he holds on the Rivals.com and ESPN boards.

Wagner and Nike league teammate Mackenzie Mgbako — the No. 3 recruit in the new 247Sports rankings — will both be in Lexington for Big Blue Madness on Friday night, giving Kentucky an early chance to make a lasting impression on two of the best juniors in the country.

Wagner is the son of former Calipari player Dajuan Wagner and the grandson of former Louisville star Milt Wagner, and the family still has a close relationship with the Kentucky coach. His brother, Kareem Watkins, is currently a walk-on for Kentucky, and Wagner is former high school teammates with UK forward Lance Ware.

Mgbako — a 6-7 small forward — already has scholarship offers from Kentucky and Duke, and he was one of the top players on the Nike circuit this past summer.

Both players are from New Jersey and play on a Nike league team led by former Louisville star Pervis Ellison, who also mentored Ware in high school.