Reed Sheppard wins 2024 Wayman Tisdale Award

Kentucky guard selected at Freshman of the Year by Basketball writers.

INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) – Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard, one of the country’s top three-point shooters, the Southeastern Conference’s Freshman of the Year and a member of its all-conference second team, has won the 2023-24 Wayman Tisdale Award as the U.S. Basketball Writers Association’s National Freshman Player of the Year. The US Basketball Writers Association has presented a men’s National Freshman Player of the Year Award since the 1998-99 season. This is the 14th season for the award to be named for the late Tisdale, a three-time USBWA All-American at Oklahoma and a 12-year NBA veteran before retiring in 1997 to focus on a blossoming jazz music career.

Reed Shepard, courtesy Kentucky Athletics

Sheppard is Kentucky’s third Wayman Tisdale Award winner, following Anthony Davis (2011-12 season) and John Wall (2009-10, prior to the Tisdale naming when the award was the National Freshman Player of the Year), and the third consecutive player from the SEC to win the award following Jabari Smith of Auburn (2021-22) and Alabama’s Brandon Miller last season. The SEC has now had seven winners since Chris Jackson of LSU won the first one 33 seasons ago.

The 6-3 guard from London, Ky., was the only player in the country who has amassed at least 75 steals, dished out at least 140 assists and made at least 70 3-pointers through March 9. Sheppard had four assists and two steals while scoring 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting in Kentucky’s last game, a 97-87 loss to Texas A&M last Friday in the SEC Tournament.

Sheppard also leads the Wildcats with 144 assists on the season. His 4.52 per game average ties for third in the league. The assist total is the eighth-most in single-season history by a UK freshman and he is the 33rd player in program history to have 140 or more assists in a season. He is third on the team in scoring averaging 12.8 points per game and has topped double-figure scoring in 21 games. Defensively, Sheppard has rankled opponents with his 80 steals this season, the second-highest total in program history since steals became an official statistic in 1979. Only Rajon Rondo (87) has more.

2022-23 Brandon Miller, Alabama
2021-22 Jabari Smith, Auburn
2020-21 Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State
2019-20 Vernon Carey Jr., Duke
2018-19 Zion Williamson, Duke
2017-18 Trae Young, Oklahoma
2016-17 Lonzo Ball, UCLA
2015-16 Ben Simmons, LSU
2014-15 Jahlil Okafor, Duke
2013-14 Jabari Parker, Duke
2012-13 Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
2011-12 Anthony Davis, Kentucky
2010-11 Jared Sullinger, Ohio State