Wayne Dawkins’ account of what was going on with his star pupil continued to play out in his progression on the court. Before playing at the Nike Camp with an injured ankle, Jevohn garnered MVP honors at a tourney in Cleveland. After the Nike camp he had stellar performances in Las Vegas and Kansas City, (which were the impetus for the latest foray of calls). “I played really well in Vegas,” Shepherd said. “I think I really showed my game and did everything well out there.” According to Dawkins, Jevohn did even better in Kansas City. “By the time he got to Vegas he was playing really well, and it was ridiculous what he did in Kansas City,” Dawkins said. “He had Kansas calling right after, Virginia, Utah, and just a number of quality schools that saw him. They said that they had seen him before, but based on what they saw at the end of July, they were just convinced that this was a kid they wanted. Recently Paul Hewitt (Georgia Tech’s head coach) made up his mind that this was a kid he really wanted.”
Jevohn goes to the hole at Nike
Dawkins, who is a former player under current UM assistant Charles Ramsey, pointed out that there is a particular area of Shepherd’s game that saw the greatest improvement and is most responsible for his strong play of late. “It’s his confidence,” Dawkins said. “Before he came out this summer, we knew he was a very skilled player…probably the most skilled player that I’ve ever worked with. But sometimes you wouldn’t see that on the court. What playing in the states has done for his confidence is take him over a hump he might not have been able to get over staying in Canada. The level of competition helped put him over that hump. He didn’t just become skilled this summer. But playing against this level of competition has really brought it out of him and forced him to take his game up another notch.”
Now confident in where he stacks up with the best players in this country, Dawkins feels that the kid he sometimes had to “bring it out of,” might not have as long of an adjustment period when he gets to college. “I think based on his experience this summer, confidence wise, you won’t have to work as hard to get it out of him anymore,” Dawkins said. One of the knocks against him wasn’t so much his game, but as Chares (Ramsey) put it when I spoke to him…it was he just doesn’t know how good he is. Coming out of the summer now he has got that understanding. Now there’s a benchmark created for him and he can gauge, based on his experiences, where he is at as a player. So now when he steps on the floor he knows, ‘hey, I can play with anyone.’ I think it’s going to motivate him to get out there and do the things he knows he can do. Before, maybe he was thinking, ‘I’m this kid from Canada…I can’t really ball with these guys.’ Now he’s thinking, ’who cares where I’m from, I can ball with the best.’”
Jevohn goes around his man at the Weber Tourney
Heading into their final season together, there look to be some special things on the horizon for Shepherd, Dawkins, and West Hill Collegiate. “I think the key to our puzzle is going to be a point guard,” Dawkins said of the Toronto high school team he coaches. “If we have a point guard that can take care of the rock, run our offense, and get him (Jevohn) that basketball we should win the equivalent of a state championship up there. We should be THAT good. We’ve got some point guards that are maturing and have been looking pretty good this summer, so I expect big things from the team. But as far as he’s concerned I think he’s just getting it going. I think he’s going to do incredible things next year.”
GBW will have more on Jevohn throughout the year.