Shepard builds flock among college scouts

Winston Shepard might be the Swiss Army knife of the college basketball recruiting season.

The Findlay Prep swingman showed his versatility Sunday, as he sliced through defenders in transition, found the open man with ease and held his own in the paint.

“I feel like I can play the ‘one’ through the ‘five,’ ” Shepard said of his ability to play point guard through center. “(To) the colleges that have been recruiting me, I think it’s a big plus.”

It’s one of the reasons Shepard, who will be a junior at Findlay next season, was a main attraction in the adidas Super 64 while playing for Dream Vision 17s (Calif.) this past week at Rancho High School.

The 6-foot-7-inch Shepard said he is entertaining scholarship offers from, in no particular order, UNLV, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Louisville and Memphis.

He might find a comfortable fit at Texas, where he could reunite with former Findlay Prep teammates Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson. Also, his father Winn Shepard and mother Eurica Johnson both played basketball for the Longhorns.

“That would be a big thing for me,” Shepard said of possibly joining Joseph and Thompson. “On top of that, both of my parents played basketball for UT, so there’s a lot of history there.”

UNLV is in his thoughts, too.

“I think UNLV likes me a lot,” he said. “I e-mail back and forth with the coaches, I talk to the coaches. I’m very interested in UNLV.”

Shepard left Houston-area Hightower High School for Findlay Prep last summer. He was a role player on a talent-rich team last season, averaging 4.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in limited playing time.

But Shepard said the experience of going 32-2 and winning the ESPN RISE National High School Invitational made it worth it.

“Last year was unbelievable for me, coming from a regular public school in Houston to a national championship,” Shepard said. “That was really special.”

He figures to step into more of a leading role next season, and showed flashes of his potential Sunday.

Shepard had 21 points and seven rebounds in a 73-57 victory over Team 94 (Calif.) on Sunday morning. Despite tweaking a left ankle in the final minutes, he came back with nine points, five rebounds and four assists in a 65-62 overtime win over 43 Hoops (Minn.) later in the afternoon.

He finally slowed down in the third game of the day. He was held to three points in a 61-55 loss to Atlanta Celtics J-Smoove that bounced Dream Vision from the tournament in the round of eight.

UNLV coach Lon Kruger took in all three games, though he also was watching Rebels recruiting target Shabazz Muhammad, who will be a junior guard at Bishop Gorman next year.

Muhammad, who also has offers from Duke, North Carolina and many others, scored 132 points in his final four games for Dream Vision at the tournament.

The initial uncertainty over where Findlay Prep’s players would attend classes and play home games hasn’t stopped the program from bringing in top talent for next season.

Texas-committed point guard Myck Kabongo and post prospect Landen Lucas plan on joining the Pilots.

Henderson International announced in late February it would no longer operate a high school campus, citing declining enrollment and the troubled economy for the closure. Findlay Prep players had attended classes and played home games at the private school.

Contact reporter Tristan Aird at taird@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203.

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