Could Kentucky pair another former legend’s son with Reed Sheppard for next season? Jamal Mashburn Jr. into portal

Just a few days after flaming out of the NCAA Tournament, just like Kentucky did, Jamal Mashburn Jr. has entered the transfer portal with one year of eligibility remaining and could be a perfect fit in Kentucky.
New Mexico Lobos guard Jamal Mashburn Jr. (5)
New Mexico Lobos guard Jamal Mashburn Jr. (5) / Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Reed Sheppard’s first year at Kentucky was supposed to end with him cutting down the nets in Phoenix, winning a national championship, like his Dad did back in 1998. Instead, his season ended with a three-point performance in an upset loss to Oakland in Pittsburgh. Now, John Calipari’s job is in question and the program is unstable and directionless… unless. 

Unless Sheppard ignores the beck and call of the NBA and comes back to Lexington for Year 2, this time as the starter, with the team built around him, and paired with another son of a UK legend in the backcourt. 

Jamal Mashburn Jr. enters the Transfer Portal

On Monday, three days after Richard Pitino's New Mexico flopped out of the NCAA Tournament with a 77-56 loss to Clemson in Round 1, senior guard Jamal Mashburn Jr. entered the transfer portal. Mashburn struggled even more than Sheppard in Round 1 of the tournament, scoring six points on 11 shots, but is coming off a fantastic year for the Lobos with one season of eligibility remaining. 

If you haven’t seen Mashburn Jr. play, he didn’t exactly get Poppa’s height, but the 6-foot-2 shooting guard has plenty of skill. With a bit less responsibility at New Mexico this past season, Mashburn’s production dropped from 19.1 points and 2.1 assists in 2022-23 to 14.1 points and 1.5 assists, but he’d be a complimentary veteran piece to the Wildcats, who may need a roster overhaul and philosophy shift after five seasons without a Sweet 16. 

Though they may be a bit undersized, Mashburn and Sheppard would pair well together, but Sheppard is viewed as an NBA lottery pick and Mashburn will want to improve his draft stock with more offensive opportunities, so Big Blue Nation’s dream backcourt will likely never come together.

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