The 2016 class is complete with five players, ranging from the No. 35 player in Kameron McGusty to an under-the-radar late addition in point guard Jordan Shepherd. Add in Matt Freeman, Kristian Doolittle and Darrion Strong and it’s the highest-rated class for Oklahoma under current coach Lon Kruger.
Sooners Illustrated wanted to learn more about the quintet – who they are, what they like and what fans can expect from all of them.
Who better to turn to than the coaches who have been around them for years?
Here are four things that Shepherd’s high school coach at Asheville Christian, Andy Ray, pointed out about the incoming freshman:
Shepherd stood out as a high-level, high school guard immediately . . . I didn’t even get to see him play until two weeks before we started official practice, and he was at about 50 percent. But that first day at 50 percent, my AD walked through and said, ‘I see we’ve got a good JV point guard.’ I said, ‘No, we’ve got a varsity guard.’ It just took a few weeks to get to 100 percent.
Needs to re-find a deep shot, but it’s there . . . He’s got to work on the 3-point shot just a little bit. It’s definitely isn’t bad. He was 40-percent shooter as sophomore for us, when we had another guard. The last two years, he’s been really the only guy. There were plenty of teams that picked him up full-court with two players. You don’t get to shoot a lot of 3s in that setting. It’s something we didn’t work on a whole lot. . . . As a high school team, we won six games this year and eight the previous year without a made 3.
Shepherd’s game translates to the next level . . . He was a big and-1 guy for us. A lot of times for us, just as a high school coach, that’s the thing that tells me he has a great chance to play at the next level. If he’s a kid that gets to the free-throw line a lot in high school but doesn’t make it, those guys really struggle to play at the collegiate level. You have to be able to finish at the rim and get the and-1.
Shepherd keeps everyone on the team involved and knows where everyone is supposed to be . . . It’s not just that he sees guys. He knows his teammates, and he knows they are going to be in certain places. I talked with him once or twice, I’d say to him every once in a while, ‘Did you actually see Chris there?’ ‘No, coach, I knew Chris was going to be there, because he’s there every time.’ Those kind of things. He has a real good natural feel to the game. One of his strengths isn’t one of those things that shows up on a stat sheet necessarily. He does a real nice job of keeping his team involved, making sure every body is getting a piece of the action.