No. 2: Ben Sheppard, Belmont
Joining Joe Gaines and Dylan Windler, Ben Sheppard would become just the third Belmont Bruin to be drafted into the NBA. Sheppard is a true do-it-all shooter, showcasing exceptional skills in catch-and-shoot situations.
He shot over 40% on catch-and-shoot attempts and converted nearly 50% of his unguarded catch-and-shoot looks. His ability to shoot 40% off screens demonstrates that Sheppard can be a disruptive off-ball player who creates ample space for the offense. Standing at 6’6″, Sheppard excels at shooting over closeouts and defenders with hands in his face. Additionally, he displays a great sense of relocating and finding open spots after a dribble drive.
Despite being recognized primarily as a marksman, Sheppard’s experience as a point guard is evident in his ability to run the pick-and-roll. He is a smart passer with remarkably quick decision-making skills. Averaging nearly three assists per game in his role showcases how comfortable Sheppard was in operating the offense at times.
On the defensive end, he earned All-Defense honors in his conference and shows flashes of being an effective on-ball defender. Sheppard’s length and intelligence enable him to make impactful plays off the ball. However, his lack of exceptional speed may pose challenges when defending quicker guards at the next level. While he displays the potential to become an impactful wing defender, he will likely need to add weight to handle stronger opponents.
Due to the uncertainty surrounding his true defensive position, Sheppard remains at the second spot on this list. His struggles with scoring at the rim further emphasize the need for added weight. Despite that, his natural shooting ability is exceptional.
Sheppard may be the best long-term choice, but he may not have an immediate impact like the next player on this list.