July 28 – Now it’s time to see who the best high school basketball players I’ve covered are. Now it is even more difficult.
So far, I’ve chosen Neil Warren as my best football player, Becky Abner as my best fastball player, and Jeremy Brown as my best baseball player.
And remember, these are just my thoughts and opinions – that certainly doesn’t mean I’m right.
1. Reed Sheppard, North Laurel
Sheppard still has a season to go, but no one can top the game he’s displayed in my 31 years of basketball coverage in the Tri-County. As long as he stays healthy, he’s going to be North Laurel’s all-time leading scorer, and who knows, he could lead the Jaguars basketball program to a state crown.
As a player, Sheppard was fun to watch. He gives 110% on both sides of the pitch and can score at will. The biggest thing I love about Sheppard is his demeanor on the pitch. He doesn’t showboat, and when he records a dunk or does something fantastic, he goes about his business. Many student-athletes should go down Sheppard’s path. Showing enthusiasm is one thing, but showing opponents is just not the way to go.
2. Daniel Dillon, North Laurel
Dillon went on and signed with Arizona once he graduated from North Laurel, but man, that year as a Jaguar he totally dominated. I’ll never forget when he single-handedly beat Clay County once by knocking down 3-pointers after 3-pointers. Dillon was like Sheppard, dominating at both ends of the floor.
3. Markelle Turner, Knox Central
Man can turner play.
He had a fantastic career as Panther and is now turning heads at Union College. Turner could do it all. He was a playmaker, and in my opinion, one of the most underrated players in the 13th Region. He could score, pass, rebound and play defense as well as anyone.
4. Andrew Taylor, Corbin
Taylor is another player who could do it all. When Corbin needed a field goal, it was a guarantee that Taylor would pull through. One of the top scorers I’ve covered, and could very well be the top scorer I’ve covered, but first we have to see what Sheppard does.
Taylor went on and had a fantastic career at Marshall.
5. Caleb Taylor, Southern Laurel
Taylor is the best big man I’ve covered. He had such soft hands and could score and rebound with the best of them. He was also an excellent shot blocker. He was a huge part of South Laurel’s run to a Final Four in 2016. Such a good kid too.
The best of the rest…
When you look at my six to 10 rankings, any of those players could argue for a top five spot. You have a Mr. Basketball and three players who won a state title, a player who is now a coach at the DI level, and a player who just won a regional title as a coach. These five players were also top notch.
6. Ty Proffitt, South Laurel; 7. Walt Allen, Laurel of the South; 8. Eric Fields, South Laurel; T9. Richie Riley, Laurel of the South; T9. Peyton Broughton, North Laurel; 10.Isaac Wilson, Corbin.