Reed Sheppard becomes first Kentucky top-5 pick in NBA Draft since 2017

Reed Sheppard was selected third overall by the Houston Rockets in Wednesday's 2024 NBA Draft.
2024 NBA Draft - Round One
2024 NBA Draft - Round One / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Reed Sheppard didn't have to wait long to find out his NBA destination as he was selected No. 3 overall by the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.

Sheppard, who played just one season at Kentucky, became the highest-selected Wildcat since 2017.

This comes on the heels of a terrific freshman season -- despite starting just five games. Sheppard averaged 12.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. He also shot 52.1 percent from three and hit 75 3s on the season. 

Sheppard was the SEC's Freshman of the Year.

"Sheppard is coming off a remarkable season, as he shot extremely well, both off the catch and off the dribble," Givony said about Sheppard. "He came up with a huge volume of steals and blocks in spite of his limited length and also posted efficient numbers in nearly every category in between. It will be fascinating to see just how effective Sheppard's unique blend of skill, feel and instincts translates to the NBA level."

Sheppard was not projected a first-round selection a year ago, but his consistent play and shooting ability was way too appealing for NBA teams. Enough so that 'several' NBA teams graded Sheppard as their best available player in the weeks leading up to the draft.

He was graded as the best shooter in the draft class by numerous analysts as well.

Sheppard was named National Freshman of the Year by the NABC, CBS Sports, ESPN and other outlets

Coming out of North Laurel (Ky.), Sheppard was a McDonald's All-American as a senior and ranked No. 43 overall in the 2023 class 247Sports Composite Rankings.

This is Kentucky's 16th top-10 pick since 2010, most among all college programs.