Understand this, it’s not about predicting the future or being fortune tellers, we will leave that to those 1-900 psychics. We could be very wrong about this and eventually regret it someday. The problem with writing stories like this one is that someone will always look back at this issue and constantly remind us if things don’t work out. We understand this and are willing to take the risk, but you have to understand that Jevohn Shepherd is the best high school player in Canada. Period!
It doesn’t take long for you to realize that J-Shepp is a special player, I’m not too sure if it’s the baggy shorts or the way he rocks the number 22, but regardless it’s pretty hard to miss the 6-5, 210 pound wing player from West Hill Collegiate Institute. But if you do miss him, one quick peek at the stat sheet is enough of a reminder.
Shepherd has been torching the opposition with a cool 28 PPG, 8 RPG, 7 APG and you are pretty much guaranteed to see some electrifying dunks that will leave your face looking like you tasted a lime. “He dunks with such ease, he has a very long wingspan which gives him that ability,” Coach Wayne Dawkins informed us.
In fact, when Jevohn Shepherd enters a dunk contest, you might as well ink his name on the trophy because his aerial assault is rarely topped. The combination of strength and smoothness is a thing of beauty and Jevohn has been displaying it all over North America by winning five dunk contests over the last two years.
So you are probably thinking that this is just another Toronto kid who plays above the rim and can jump out the gym. Believe me, Shepherd is all that, but what puts him ahead of his class is the fact that he can shoot the rock with sniper like aim but more importantly his work ethic is unbelievable.
Regardless of how much hype and attention the 18 year old is getting now, he still remains humble and keeps to himself most of the time. These are just some of the attributes that testify that he is on his way to greatness. We live in an era where most young players don’t know how to handle and carry themselves in public. Everybody wants to trash talk, but not him. “Jevohn has a great personality on and off the court. He is very humble and under-stands the meaning of hard work. Credit must be given to his parents for his great up bringing,” says Coach Wayne Dawkins.
Jevohn Shepherd busted on to the natio-nal scene when he was in grade 11, but people failed to pay attention because he was playing on the same West Hill team that included one of Toronto’s finest and current University of Connecticut star, Denham Brown. The majority of the media attention was centered on Brown and who would blame them, especially when you score 110 points in one single game. But like any great player would do, Shepherd sat back and let the game come to him. He worked hard and learned the little things that were required to take his game to the next level.
By grade 12, he was a household name. Coach Wayne Dawkins really saw his raw potential and athletic ability and gave him the keys to drive the young Warriors squad. He didn’t disappoint often, but the season ended with a disappointing loss at the hands of C.W. Jefferys C.I. and ended the Warriors hopes of winning a provincial title. Despite losing that game, the scouts from south of the border took notice and Shepherd was invited to participate at the NBA Players’ Association Camp in Virginia, the Nike All-American Camp in Indianapolis and our own Nike All-Canada camp in Toronto. It was at these camps that he really im-proved his stock value, showcased his potential and convinced everybody that he was a primetime player.
The busy summer continued with strong play on the AAU circuit that saw him play at some of the top tournaments that the United States has to offer. His strong play had everybody talking about the kid from Canada and in August 2004, Shepherd committed to the University of Michigan and became the second Canadian player from the class of 2005 to commit to a
Division 1 program. “The recruiting process was pretty hectic. I was getting tired of receiving mail,” mentioned Shepherd.
“I chose the Wolverines because I felt comfortable with the coaching staff and their style of play,” explained Shepherd. It seems like he has made the right decision, even head coach Tommy Amaker seems to agree,
“Jevohn Shepherd has all the necessary tools to start for us next year. He is a gifted athlete.”
Even with those quotes and all the propaganda surrounding him, he still doesn’t believe the hype and he understands that his path to success will only go as far as his work ethic takes him. “I was told that every coach is a liar at that level. If a coach promises me minutes, I know that something is already wrong.”
With that mental attitude and desire to get better, maybe now you will understand why we are taking this risk and giving him the crown as the best high school player in Canada for 2005.