top of page
Bob Dixon.jpg

Bob Dixon

Agency Manager


Middlesboro, KY 40965


Go Big Blue!

UK Backup Guards Sheppard, Dillingham Selected Among Top 8 Overall in 2024 NBA Draft

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Two Kentucky Wildcats were selected in the top 10 of the 2024 NBA Draft becoming the latest UK men’s basketball players to hear their names called in the opening round. Reed Sheppard went No. 3 overall, while Rob Dillingham was picked at No. 8 on Wednesday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Reed Sheppard in his last game as a Kentucky Wildcat during the 2024 NCAA Tournament in Pittsburgh (Photo by Wayne Mason)

Sheppard was the first collegiate player off the board and the third Kentucky guard to be selected in the top five in the last 30 years when the Rockets selected him at third overall. Dillingham was taken just five picks later at No. 8 by San Antonio before his draft rights were traded to Minnesota.


It marked the seventh time in program history that two players were selected within the NBA Draft’s first 10 picks. UK also had multiple top-10 selections in 1949, 1984, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.


With Sheppard’s and Dillingham’s selections in the opening round, UK has now had at least one player taken in the first round in each of the last 15 drafts. That’s the longest streak in the modern draft era (since 1966). In all, the Wildcats have had at least one player taken in 17 straight drafts.


Sheppard was the fifth Wildcats selected by the Rockets and first since Terrence Jones was picked at No. 18 in 2012. Other Houston selections include Pat Riley (1967), Fred Cowan (1981) and Patrick Patterson (2010). Dillingham is just the second UK player chosen by San Antonio, joining Keldon Johnson in 2019.


“I’m super excited,” Sheppard said. “I’m a guy going in who is looking to learn. He’s going to do whatever it takes to win. If it’s not making 3s right away, it’s getting teammates involved. Whatever it takes to win and be on the court, I’m going to do whatever makes the team better.”


Sheppard is UK’s first top-five selection since De’Aaron Fox went No. 5 to Sacramento in 2017. He is the highest pick overall since Karl-Anthony Towns was the top choice in 2015. The London, Kentucky, native is the top overall selection by a Kentucky player who is a native of the Commonwealth since Rex Chapman went No. 8 in 1988 to Charlotte.


He averaged 12.5 points per game and topped double-figure scoring in 21 games en route to winning National Freshman of the Year honors from the National Basketball Coaches Association and the United States Basketball Writers Association. 


The 6-foot-3 guard led the team with 148 assists on the year and was the Southeastern Conference’s Freshman of the Year. His 4.5 per game average ranked fourth in the league. The 148 assists rank as the eighth-most in single-season history by a UK freshman and he is the 28th player in program history to have 148 or more assists in a season. 

Meanwhile, Sheppard was a nemesis defensively racking up 82 steals on the season. Since steals became an official stat in 1979, the 82 steals are the second-most by a UK player in program history trailing only Rajon Rondo (87).


He became the first player in UK history to register five steals in three-consecutive games, collecting five thefts against Ole Miss (Feb. 13), Auburn (Feb. 17) and LSU (Feb. 21). Rondo's 2.559 per game average is UK's single-season leader. No other player averaged at least 2.5 per game in program history. Sheppard ended the season logging 2.485 per game.

Rob Dillingham during the 2024 NCAA Tournament (Photo by Wayne Mason)

Dillingham averaged 15.2 points per game off the bench to become the SEC’s Sixth Man of the Year. That mark was second on the team, trailing only Antonio Reeves. Dillingham's points per game off the bench were the most among all players in the SEC and the most by any true freshman off the bench this season.


The Hickory, North Carolina, native poured in a career-high 35 points against Tennessee on Feb. 3. It tied for the most points off the bench by any UK player in the John Calipari era. He was also just the third player to score 35 or more in the Rick Barnes' Tennessee era, joining Mason Jones and Damantas Sabonis as the others.


For the year, Dillingham scored in double figures in 27 games. Against UK's seven ranked opponents this season, Dillingham averaged 17.1 points per game and 3.9 assists. He also connected on 60.0% of his shots from 3-point range and averaged 2.6 made 3s per game in those contests.

From X (formerly Twitter)


edward Jones Ad 2.jpg
bottom of page