It’s April 15 and that means it’s time to take a look at three of the greatest University of Kentucky Wildcats to dawn the No. 15.
Today features two UK Athletics Hall of Famers and a two-time national champion on the hardwood.
DeMarcus Cousins (2010 Men’s Basketball)
In just one season with the Wildcats, DeMarcus Cousins earned himself a spot in the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame.
Cousins arrived in Lexington in 2009 to join first-year head coach John Calipari. The 6-11 big-man from Alabama nearly averaged a double-double as a Wildcat averaging 15.1 points per game with 9.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. He helped lead the Wildcats to an SEC regular season and conference tournament title and to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
In the 2010 SEC Championship against Mississippi State, Cousins made one of the most famous shots of the Calipari era as he scored a put-back as time expired in regulation to tie the game and allow UK to come back and win the game in overtime.
His standout season saw him earn Consensus second-team All-American honors, spots on the SEC All-Rookie and First-team All-SEC teams and win the 2010 SEC Rookie of the Year award.
Cousins would enter the 2019 NBA Draft where he was selected fifth overall by the Sacramento Kings. He was named a UK Athletics Hall of Famer in 2019.
Terry Shumpert (1985-1987 Baseball)
One of the best to ever wear a UK Baseball uniform, Terry Shumpert, put together a historic college career in Lexington.
As a sophomore in 1986, Shumpert tore up the SEC as he hit .364 with 19 doubles, two triples, 10 homers and 37 RBI while stealing 28 bases.
His junior season of 1987 was even better as he hit .376 with 19 doubles, four triples, nine homers and 32 stolen bases while leading the Wildcats to a 40-15 record.
Shumpert earned All-SEC honors both seasons and was named to the All-SEC Tournament in 1987. After three seasons in Lexington, Shumpert was drafted in the second round of the 1987 MLB Draft by the Kansas City Royals.
In 2014, he was enshrined in the UK Athletics hall of fame in which 10 UK baseball players are a part of.
Jeff Sheppard (1994-1998 Men’s Basketball)
Our final No. 15 is another basketball star, but this one owns two national championship rings. Jeff Sheppard arrived in Lexington after being named the 1993 Georgia’s Mr. Basketball.
After serving in a limited role off the bench as a freshman, Sheppard averaged 8.3 points per game with 2.7 assists as a sophomore during the 1994-1995 season.
As a junior, Sheppard’s minutes dipped a bit, but he still averaged 5.5 points per game and helped Kentucky win the 1996 National Championship.
After sitting out the 1996-97 season, Sheppard returned better than ever as a senior. Sheppard averaged a career-high 13.7 points per game with 4.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists. In the NCAA Tournament, Sheppard went on a remarkable run as he averaged 16.5 points per game, including dropping 27 in UK’s final four victories over Stanford.
He would be named the Most Outstanding Player of the 1998 Tournament after Kentucky defeated Utah to win their second title in three seasons.
Photo via UK Athletics