‘White Men Can’t Jump': Reed Sheppard Records Highest Vertical At NBA Draft Combine

Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard proved the saying wrong, "White Men Can't Jump," as he recorded a 42-inch max vertical, which was tied for the highest at the 2024 NBA Draft Combine.

The 6-foot-3 caucasian male surprised everyone with his leaping ability, recording the 22nd-highest vertical jump in combine history, but his athleticism wasn't even considered one of his strong suits. Seeing that, add it to the list of many intangibles for the potential top-5 draft prospect, as Sheppard is a versatile guard who can pass, shoot, steal and rebound, which led him to having an impressive freshman campaign at the University of Kentucky. The 19-year-old averaged 12.5 points, 4.5 assists, 4.1 rebounds, 2.5 steals with superb shooting splits (53.6% FG; 52.1% 3PT; 83.1% FT).

The Kentucky native is projected to go from anywhere between No. 2 to No. 7 overall pick in this year's draft, with many scouts saying he is NBA ready with his decision-making, shot-making and playmaking ability. Not to mention, he is a pesky defender along the perimeter, and takes after his mom, who is the all-time leader in steals (2.7) for the University of Kentucky women's basketball program. 

Furthermore, Sheppard's dad also won two national championships (1996, 1998) at Kentucky, in addition to being the Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA tournament in 1998. Although Reed will hope to outlast his father, Jeff Sheppard's one-season NBA playing career, he credits his parents for helping him reach success on the court.  

Speaking on his mom and dad's support, "They didn't even miss a college game, which is crazy," Sheppard stated. "So having them here with me for the next step of the journey is unbelievable. I'm super excited to be here and have them with me."

As for the next step in the journey, considering where Sheppard will be drafted, there are some draft analysts that have the combo guard going as high as the No. 2 overall pick to the Washington Wizards. While important to keep in mind, the top half of the lottery picks are also in need of a point guard: Houston Rockets (No. 3), San Antonio Spurs (No. 4), Detroit Pistons (No. 5), Charlotte Hornets (No. 6).

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