“After this, basketball becomes a job” - Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard reminisces HC John Calipari’s advice on transition from college to NBA

Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard reminisces HC John Calipari’s advise
Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard reminisces HC John Calipari’s advise

After just one season with the Kentucky Wildcats, Reed Sheppard is preparing to transition to the NBA. He sat down with NBA player Paul George on his "Podcast with P" to talk about his plans and goals for the league.

Looking back at his freshman season, the guard described it as a fun experience where he went on the court every night and enjoyed the process. George pointed out that this was an incredible mindset to have, and Sheppard credited it to his former Wildcats coach, John Calipari.

"That's something that Coach Cal told me from the beginning," Sheppard said (at 42:35 in the video below). "He was like, when I committed as a junior in high school, he was like the rest of your senior year, just have fun."
"He was like 'enjoy, it's the last time you're playing with your guys. You're playing in high school,' he was like, 'after this basketball becomes a job. It's not just something you do for fun.' So he said, 'Make sure you have fun and just enjoy the whole thing.' So having that mindset this year, I think, really did help me."

Paul George guides Reed Sheppard through the shift from college basketball to NBA

Paul George mentored Reed Sheppard through the changes he may come across in the league. He first mentioned the pace difference between college basketball and the NBA.

"The pace of the game is that much different than college," George said (At 55:30). "In college, you are used to a set offense, running through an offense using the clock. You get 30 to 35 seconds on the clock to run a play, whereas the NBA is 24 seconds, but very rarely is the offense run down to 24 seconds."

Reed Sheppard came off the bench often while playing for the Wildcats and led the offense with an average of 12.5 points, 4.5 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 2.5 steals. He shot 53.6% from the floor and 52.1% from 3-point range.

"There is a lot more space on the floor to operate. Whether you're on offense or defense, it's more space for the offensive player to make something happen. I think that was one thing that I realized once I got comfortable in my game and worked on my game," George added (At 56:18).

Reed Sheppard has impressed scouts and NBA teams with his performances during the NBA combine in Chicago and has drawn high expectations for his rookie season. The guard is predicted to be a top-three pick at the draft in June.

What are your predictions for Reed Sheppard's rookie season in the NBA? Let us know in the comment section below.

Also Read: "I know I can jump but..." - Reed Sheppard recalls being stunned at his 2024 NBA draft combine measurements

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