The Kentucky Wildcats might have lost to UNC Wilmington on Saturday, marking the team’s second loss of the young season, but there are still many positives coming from this team.
Few of those matter more than the extraordinary play of a couple of freshmen. While high-profile recruits like DJ Wagner and Justin Edwards have had their moments, the consistency has been from the team’s two four-star recruits.
Guard Reed Sheppard has been a force for Kentucky. He is averaging 13.9 points per game and shooting 61.9% from the field and 61.1% from deep. All three are team-high averages among the incoming freshman class.
That’s what earned him a spot at No. 3 in On3’s freshmen power rankings.
“The buzz around Reed Sheppard has continued to grow throughout the season. There is a strong conversation to be had around Sheppard being one of the most efficient guards in the country to this point. Coming off the bench, the 6-foot-3 freshman is averaging 13.9 points while shooting 61.1 (22-36) percent from three and dishing out 3.9 assists to 1.5 turnovers per game. Sheppard has played a calming role for a team that finds themselves at No. 16 in the current A.P. Poll,” Jamie Shaw wrote.
There was only one other Wildcats player in the top ten, Robert Dillingham. Dillingham had a breakout game against the Kansas Jayhawks earlier in the season, and he is averaging 13.8 points per game in 23 minutes of action.
He is shooting 48.2% from the field and 50% from deep. Dillingham is averaging 5.4 assists per game as well, the only Wildcats player to currently be topping even four. The talent is there for Dillingham, and the consistency and minutes are sure to follow.
It’s early, but Dillingham and Sheppard clearly have bright futures ahead.