Class of 2005 wing commitment Jevohn Shepherd has been making a name for himself for years north of the border. His rim-rattling dunks and three point barrages are the stuff of legend up in Canada. That said, in the country where basketball was born, our own United States of America, the word has been slow to get out. That started to change this summer when after a few undistinguished showings on he AAU and camp circuit (do in part to an injured ankle) he burst out of his funk and turned in dynamite efforts out in tournaments in Cleveland (where he was named MVP), Las Vegas, and Kansas City. Those performances even had national championship runner-up Georgia Tech entering the fray and expressing their interest in the talented prospect. The late hubbub dissipated when he committed to Michigan and ended what little intrigue there was.
Once his recruitment was over he faded into the background for many stateside, but up in Toronto he has been nothing short of spectacular this year. His game again began to resonate in this country recently with a breakout performance at last week’s Arby’s Classic in Tennessee. The tradition rich showcase has in the past featured such NBA players as Ray Allen, George Lynch, Bryant Stith, and David Harrison. It remains to be seen whether Shepherd’s name will be included in that group, but his big time showing over the holiday is already a known quantity,
Early in the tournament Shepherd struggled to find his customary form, scoring a combined 34 points in the first two games on the way to a 1-1 record. That all changed in West Hill’s third contest when he erupted for 32 points on 15/21 shooting thanks in large part to a sage piece of advice he received from his coach. "He has had a terrible tournament so far, so we told him to pretend he is in practice and do the same thing he does in the drills,” West Hill coach Wayne Dawkins said to the Bristol Herald Courier after the game. “He was acting like he was in practice and he was very effective."
He followed that up with a feat that has become a given whenever a certain challenge is placed before him. When Jevohn Shepherd enters a dunk contest, you might as well pencil his name in on the trophy because his aerial display is rarely topped. At the Arby’s classic dunk off, the competition was steep. Another competitor orchestrated a slam that called for him to jump over four boxes of Frito Lay chips. Jevohn knew he would have to do something spectacular to come out on the victor. His answer: three Frito Lay boxes and a ball boy! The crowd got behind him on the attempt and he satisfied them by nailing it on the first try. His effort earned him a first place tie in the competition.
"I’ve won a dunk contest before in Toronto, but this is a different feeling," Shepherd said to the Herald Courier. "The crowd was great and the fans inspired me. I needed something big after that [the four box dunk]. I wasn’t too nervous about the dunk, the adrenalin took away all that. Hopefully, the contest was a highlight for the kid as well."
Shepherd capped off his impressive showing with a 28 points in West Hill’s final game of the tournament to give them a 3-1 record and a sixth place finish (out of 18 reams). Jevohn’s 26 ppg scoring average has led West Hill 20-5 record so far.
GBW will have more on Jevohn in the coming days.