Winston Shepard – Profile

Posted: July 20, 2012 by DeadBefore50 in 2012, Basketball
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Jerry Meyer,

(Winston) Shepard, a 6-foot-8 combo forward, is an elite defender and multifaceted all-around player. Presently ranked No. 40 in the Rivals150, Shepard’s stock is up and could potentially rise even higher in the rankings.







Born in Houston, TX., and the son of parents whom both attended and played basketball at the University of Texas, Winston Shepard has basketball in his blood. Shepard is a 6’8 205lb 5-star out of famed Henderson, Nevada, basketball powerhouse, Findlay Prep. Along with teammates Anthony Bennett, Dominic Artis, and Brandon Ashley, Shepard and the Findlay Prep Pilots finished 32-1 and grabbed the 2012 ESPN National High School Invitational championship. As Rivals 21 recruit in the Class of ’12 Shepard became the highest rated recruit to sign a National Letter of Intent with the Aztecs of San Diego State. Capable of playing and defending multiple positions, Shepard carries versatility few in the class of ’12 approach. Although 6’8, there’s a fair chance he sees significant time as a hybrid Point Guard/Point Forward under Coach Fisher. Rated #40 by Rivals as late as February of this year, Shepard parlayed a strong Senior campaign into then coveted 5th star and the #21 overall spot.

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Shepard impacts the stat sheet thoroughly and consistently. His 6.9 Assists (per game ’11-’12) established a Findlay Prep record. Impressive stuff considering Findlay counts PG’s Jorge Gutierrez (Cal), Avery Bradley (University of Texas, Boston Celtics) and Nick Johnson (University of Arizona) among its alum. A high level facilitator/distributor, Shepard is anything but one-dimensional. He led the Findlay team in offensive rebounds (85) and averaged 7.0 rebounds (off/def) per game. Mix in 15.5 points per game and present is the makings of a true triple threat. Much of Shepard’s offensive success stems from his ability to dribble-drive the lane with high frequency. He is capable of finishing with either hand and is emphatic above the rim. If the path to the hoop becomes impeded with help defense, excellent court vision and a deft passing touch lead to open looks and easy hoops for teammates. Shepard makes use of sound hands, quick bounce, and effective positioning when crashing the boards and, similar to previous Aztecs Kawhi Leonard and Malcolm Thomas, keeps possessions alive with his stellar work on the offensive glass. In short, Shepard is a nightmarish match-up for most every opponent he faces. His handles and agility warrant the quicks and lateral mobility of a 2 or small 3 to offset. His 6’8 205lb frame and physicality, however, require the size/strength of big 3’s and 4 to combat. On the defensive side, if recruiting/scouting services awarded Defensive Player of the Year, it is not a stretch to assume Shepard a front-runner. Whether at Findlay or with Dream Vision, he routinely found himself pitted against the opponents top offensive threat, ranging from Point Guards to Power Forwards.

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A good scorer at the High School/AAU level, Shepard did much of his damage within 10-12 feet of the hoop. His midrange game has evolved from a “work in progress” to average or slightly above. If D’s don’t honor his jumper, the dribble-drive opportunities get that much more difficult. As previously mentioned, Shepard’s great when probing and either finishing on his own or finding the open teammate. At the D1 level, Shepard may find much of offensive opportunities predicated on his consistency from outside the key. The further out defenders feel compelled to play him, the more likely Shepard is to achieve success. Little doubt Shepard is a high level passer, but the “AAU effect” rears its ugly head here a bit. There’s a tendency to look for the spectacular. The no-look when a bounce pass will suffice. SDSU fans can remember back to the Freshman version of Jamaal Franklin. The hyper-athletic Freshman spent more time/effort trying to impress than he did playing within the flow of the game. Fast forward to last season’s version, and it was clear Franklin, although still capable of the spectacular, shifted attention away from the highlight reel and towards the game itself. Shepard’s name has been to linked to ’12s “one and done” prospects. Should Shepard come in focused on impressing scouts/GM’s as opposed to finding his way within Coach Fisher’s system, his assimilation will be delayed and performance hampered.

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Assuming Shepard hits the court prepared to roll with (as opposed to dominating) the Fisher system, the sky is the limit. Fisher and staff thrive in finding match-up advantages (Kawhi Leonard hybrid-Point ’10-’11) and Shepard provides scores of opportunity. Returning Point Guard Xavier Thames will play the lion’s share of the minutes, but Shepard will see time when match-ups dictate. His earliest impact will most likely occur on the defensive end. I expect Fisher and staff to restore the press defense which afforded the ’10-’11 team consistent turnover and run-out opportunities. Jamaal Franklin and Kawhi Leonard developed consistent outside games under Coach Fisher, and I expect the same for Shepard. He may not enter D1 play with the same buzz as Shabazz Muhammad, Nerlens Noel, or Anthony Bennett, but by season’s end Shepard’s overall team impact will rank among the nation’s elite. I project Winston Shepard in the 12 to 14 point, 6.0 to 7.0 rebound, 4.5 to 5.5 Assist, and 1.5 to 2.0 steals per game range. His ability to impact the stat sheet will afford him Freshman All-American and All-MWC consideration. Franklin and Chase Tapley will consistently draw the opponents top defenders and Shepard will exploit his perceived status as a 3rd or 4th option. Barring a serious NCAA Tourney run I fully expect Shepard dawning an Aztec uniform for a minimum of 2 seasons. NBA GM’s will take note of his size/skill combination, but similar to Leonard’s time with SDSU, will want to see a more consistent outside game before projecting 1st Round possibilities. Much as Leonard propelled the Aztecs to the periphery of national attention, Shepard and Co. will cement SDSU’s reputation among the West Coasts elite and take a significant step towards consistent national recognition.

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Findlay Prep Associate Coach Todd Simon knows the game of Winston Shepard as well as anyone. Asked to summarize the Freshman’s potential impact at the D1 level, Coach Simon provided the following:

Winston’s a multi-dimensional player that can impact the game without dominating the ball. His defense should get him on the floor early. Hes a good rebounder and an excellent playmaker for others. He will be a spark with his emotion and energy. He’s a tremendous winner. He’s a big game player and has won at high levels in AAU and at Findlay Prep. I expect more of the same at SDSU.

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  1. aztecpaulg says:

    Thanks for the article. I didn’t know he is the record holder for assists per game at Findley. That alone should show he’s ready to contribute day one at SDSU.

  2. […] article comes courtesy of SoCal Recruit Spot: Katin Reinhardt, Winston Shepard, Roschon Prince Twitter : @SoCalRecruitSpt Facebook : SoCal Recruit Spot Josh Hart’s wisdom […]

  3. ct2sd says:

    Good stuff!! 96 days! Can’t wait!!!

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