In the last 10 months, the basketball career of 24 year old Canadian Jevohn Shepherd has been sort of a whirlwind like that of Bayern goalie Thomas Kraft who was always in the shadow of Hans Jorg Butt and then got the call, 19 year old soccer player Andreas Merkel who came to Germany from Kazakhstan and lived in a village in the Westerwald and now is getting press in Germany after being discovered by AC Milian and recently playing Champions League or actress Gabourey Sidibe going from Americas got talent to being nominated for a Golden Globe for Precious. Last summer Shepherd who had graduated from Michigan played in Canada in Halifax, the gateway to the Atlantic for the Rainmen possibly enjoying the breathtaking city street scapes often used for motion pictures to stand in for other cities that are too expensive to work in and then a few months later mixing it up for the Canadian national team at the World championships in Turkey with top basketball players like Marc Gasol, Boris Diaw or Linas Kleiza. He then started off the 2010-2011 basketball season in Germany in the PRO A for the Giroballers Live Osnabrueck and a few weeks ago played against Chemnitz against Americans like Gary Johnson and Ty Law and a few days ago against the Giessen 46ers against Michael Jordan and with ex NBA player Roger Powell. Despite all this excitement, it seems like the friendly Canadian is taking it all in stride despite looking at me a bit lost in the expression in his eyes as I was flooding him with German in the post game radio interview, but he then showing some relief as the English came in the translation. “I am extremely excited this is a great club to be apart of and to be able to be apart of it is a great opportunity I cant really express much more how excited I am .I felt comfortable in my first game. Frankfurt has a good group of guys that talked to me a lot. Coach prepared us well and there was adjusting to do since this league is a lot more physical and the players are smarter”, stressed Jevohn Shepherd.
Before coming to Germany, Shepherd took part at the 2010 World Championships in Turkey for Canada. Despite going 0-5 with canada, Shepherd gained valuable experience playing against countries like Spain, France and Lithuania. He also got basketball experts to raise their eyebrows as he played 5 games averaging 9.4ppg, 1.6rpg, FGP: 30.8%, 3PT: 26.3%, FT: 69.6%. He also was amazed how certain NBA players didnt come out and have Lebron James type of numbers and he was unable to list one player as being the best that he played against in the tournament. “Its hard to say who the best player was I played against the World Championships because at that level everybody plays a role and does it well so there are no standouts at the end of the game when you reflect 9 times out of 10 you end up talking about how well that opposing “team” played together. It was quite interesting to me because even NBA guys played simple roles at that level where as you would expect them to be standouts”, said Shepherd.
Shepherd started the season with the Giroballers Live Osnabrueck and showed quickly that possibly he was a tad too good for the PRO A as he averaged 20,2ppg, 6,1rpg and 2,5apg. Gordon Herbert and the Deutsche Bank Skyliners already had had Shepherd on their radar last summer, but were unable to acquire him because he had signed in the PRO A previous to his strong showing in Turkey at the World Championships. So coming to the BEKO BBL and The Deutsche Bank Skyliners was not a miscalculated step. “Yes I am definitely ready for this step playing in the BBL, not taking anything away from my time in the PRO A because that was a great experience and I learned a lot that has prepared me for the decision to continue my season with the Skyliners in the BBL”, added Shepherd. Frankfurt is very grateful to Osnabrueck coach Thorsten Leibenath for letting Shepherd come to the Main. “It was a decision I struggled with over the year because different opportunities had come up throughout the year but at that point our team in Osnabruck was in suit of finishing top two, Wurzburg and Munich eventually created a bigger gap and then the opportunity to play with the Skyliners came about which many may not get to play for a club of this caliber so I had to really evaluate and make a decision that is best for me as this is my career. Osnabruck was great about the situation, they understood the opportunity I had and here I am today”, commented Shepherd. Shepherd didn´t even play a full season in the PRO A, but left his mark on the league scoring in double figures in 18 of 20 games, scoring more than 20 points 10 times, 30 points or more points twice and netting 40 points against Science City Jena. It won´t be so much his individual stat memories that will be engraved in his memory bank, but more the relationships he formed. “The sweetest memory of playing PRO A this year was not even on the court but thinking back I barely remember the games but I can give you numerous fun times with my teammates. We had a great unit and thats whats most memorable to me”, expressed Shepherd.
Jevohn Shepherd has little time to reflect on his great season in the PRO A, but now has to fcous on his current job of playing in the BEKO BBL with The Deutsche Bank Skyliners. Despite playing in the PRO A the last months, he had had some idea of what stuck behind The Deutsche Bank Skyliners. But after the first few days, he already had positive things to describe his new club. “Well to be honest I am learning more now about the club, I mean while I was playing in Pro A I read little things when AJ had the stroke when they had some big wins when Roger joined the club following his preseason in the NBA etc.. Its funny how things work one day your reading about all thats going on over here and thinking wow and the next your right in the mix. I can say one thing is for sure the club is very professional and the support staff here are excellent second to none that I can tell you”, added Shepherd. Shepherd is a shooting guard/small forward and will come from the bench and give guys like Jimmy Mckinney or Quantez Robertson a breather at times. Skyliner coach Gordon Herbert also has enshrined the winning attitude in the Canadian in a very brief time. “I see my role being a contributor in anyway possible to continue piling up the wins if that means having a bottle of water ready for guys coming off the floor so that they can go back in the game refreshed and we win so be it”, stressed Shepherd. The Canadian also seems to have an easy adjustment period as the players have welcomed him with open arms, but Air Canada has already given the “Who can fly longer in the air to Quantez Robertson without a real fight. “As ive gotten to know the players a bit more a lot of us have mutual friends so your able to make connections quick for example Dashaun Wood is from Detroit so a lot of the players ive played with or against while at Michigan are friends of his as well AJ and Roger both played at big ten schools so there is that connection, I also found out today that Chris Moss and I also played for the same college coach as well Carl Lindbom played with one of my national teammates last year in Finland, so making a family here quick but the guys are making it easy I feel like ive been here since the start as for Tez hes going to hold that title im sure of it”, joked Shepherd. The Toronto native already got some important chilling down time with Roger Powell. “Roger he’s been great to me so far. On my first night, we sat in the gym for about an hour after everyone had left practice just talking about different experiences and so forth. Great guy and i’m definitely going to pick his brain for the remainder of the season and learn all that I can while we are both here”, added Shepherd. One guy that the Canadian missed was Jermaine Bucknor who had played with Frankfurt twice earlier in the season. Shepherd had played together with Bucknor with the Canadian National team last summer. “The thing that impresses me most about Jermaine is his professionalism and how well he takes care of his body in order to get the most longevity out of it. On the court he can really shoot it. He’s agreat dude in addition to that”, said Shepherd.
In his first game in the BEKO BBL, Skyliner coach Gordon Herbert didn´t hesitate inserting Shepherd early as he came on to the floor in the Osthalle. Shepherd missed his first shot, but after that found his rhythm better as he quickly showed his presence on the offensive boards being aggressive and letting his presence be shown. His first hoop was a beautiful penetration from the right side and he capped of a solid debut with a stunning Air Canada style ally op dunk getting fed nicely by teammate Dashaun Wood. “Wood has good eyes. I pointed up and I didnt think that he saw me, but then all of a sudden there was his pass”, added Shepherd. Shepherd finished with five points, three rebounds and one assist in 22 minutes. When it comes to his biggest strength, unnoticed strength and things he still needs to improve on, the 24 year old doesn´t need to think long what they are. “My biggest strength is my team play. A strength in my game that may go unnoticed I believe is my passing but hey thats ok because it will make it easier for me to find open players. I always want to improve on everything of make some adjustment I guess this may be why Im well rounded and dont necessarily specialize in one thing”, warned Shepherd. Shepherd also expects more from his game the longer he is with Frankfurt. “I still have to get adjusted to this league. But my goal is to help the team win and I expect to get better”, stressed Shepherd.
Shepherd played at Michigan from 2005-2009 playing 116 games. He didn´t get a lot of playing time as he never averaged more than 3,5ppg in a season. In his senior year, he played 30 games: 2.6ppg, 1.1rpg, FGP: 45.6%, 3PT: 19.0%, FT: 60.0%. He did get a lot of experience playing with guys like Ekpe Udoh(Golden State Warriors), Brent Petway(Vichy), Courtney Sims who has played with the Pacers and Knicks, Manny Harris(Cavaliers) and current Michigan stand out Zack Novak. He also had a fine basketball instructor with John Beilein who taught him things that he will continue to transform into his game at the next level. “The most important thing I learned from John is getting rotation on the ball whether it be shooting or passing in addition to his 1-3-1 zone”, commented Shepherd. Shepherd also takes extreme pride in maintaining relationships with former teammates and has great memories of ex teammate Manny Harris. the difference in salaries of Shepherd and Harris is like night and day, but the Canadian is sure that Harris is living differently in Cleveland now and enjoying the new life. “The best memories with Manny at Michigan again its always off the court I mean we shared great times on the court but the relationships you build with teammates always grow far beyond basketball. I remember we always used to lift in the morning but we would always stop at a little breakfast club and get something small before the lift one day he showed up to my apartment and told me to come out he was so proud of his new car but it was probably already 20 years old within a week he had rims on it, tinted windows a sound system the whole works then a week later it broke down, and that continued the whole year lol every second week something was wrong. He is now playing with the Cavaliers and having a great first year so he wont have to ride in those old schools anymore”, laughed Shepherd. Air Canada was a NIT finalist in 2006 and remembers one player in particular that he played against in the NCAA. “I was really impressed by Eric Gordon I mean I was fortunate to play with or against many players that are now in the NBA but the thing that impressed me most about him was how efficient he was and at such a young age”, added Shepherd. Right away in his first BEKO BBL game, Shepherd got a taste of what a real live German Hessen derby can be like between The Deutsche Bank Skyliners and the Giessen 46ers. He was amazed by the atmosphere. “I have never seen an atmosphere like this before in Germany. There were some tough places to play in the PRO A, but our fans gave us so much support in Giessen. It was amazing”, stressed Shepherd. However Hessen Derby or not, there is only one top rivalry that sticks in the head of Shepherd and it isn´t The Boston Red Sox -New York Yankees. “I am yet to see a rivalry as big as Michigan vs Michigan State. I am sure you can ask Travis Walton about them I remember my freshman year the week leading up to the game there was so much buzz on campus and it was all new to me it felt like I was in a movie but they were definitely great battles although Travis and Drew Neitzel have my number on this one”, laughed Shepherd. The Canadian hasn´t had much time recently to keep tabs on whats going on in the NCAA, but he has ideas who will be doing damage and noise at the end of March Madness. “I have to be bias and go with teams that have fellow Canadians so Texas and Syracuse, my last two are sleepers are Gonzaga since they have a German and Canadian mix on the team but we need them to make the tourney first and then lastly I am going to go out on a limb and say my Michigan Wolverines are going to win the conference tourney then make a final 4 run in the NCAA tourney”, warned Shepherd. Shepherd has come to The Deutsche Bank Skyliners in a very exciting time in the stretch run and one thing is for certain. He has more time with the team than having his sneakers disappear at midnight, since his Cinderella story will continue until the end of the season with The Deutsche Bank Skyliners, because his contract time will end hopefully first when the club celebrates their second BEKO BBL championship league title in June