Texas native Kasey Shepherd
traveled Wednesday from the Houston suburb of Spring for a quick unofficial visit to learn more about Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns, but that was enough time for him to feel at home in Lafayette.
Two days later Shepherd knew he wanted to play for the Cajuns.
Shepherd, a 6-foot-3, 165-pound combo guard from Dekaney High School, made a verbal commitment to the Cajuns on Friday. He plans to take an official visit to campus in the upcoming weeks and sign with the school during the NCAA's spring signing period, which is April 11 to May 16.
"I went out there and met with the coaches and players, and they seemed like great guys," Shepherd told Cajun Red Zone on Friday. "Coach (Bob) Marlin seemed like a tough guy, and you need that if you want to get better. I want to play for somebody like that. They've got a nice team. The campus is beautiful. They play fast and have newer facilities. I met a lot of school administrators, and everybody seemed really nice and genuine and interested in helping the students."
One of the main selling points for the Cajuns had nothing to do with basketball. The school has the particular major – marine biology – that Shepherd intends to study in college.
and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi also recruited Shepherd, as did Incarnate Word, John Brown University, East Texas Baptist, Concordia University Texas and McLennan Community College.
Shepherd, rated the No. 119 senior in the Greater Houston area by Jim Hicks of RCS Sports, has shown his versatility at Class 5A Dekaney, which opened in 2007.
As a junior he played away from the ball alongside Houston's 2011 Class 5A Player of the Year and current Montana State guard Michael Dison, the cousin of former Cajuns guard Brandon Dison
. Shepherd averaged 11.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.6 steals last season for the District 13-5A champs. He was first team all-district as Dekaney went 31-6 and advanced to the fourth round of the playoffs.
A preseason honorable mention all-state pick for all classifications by Texas Basketball magazine, Shepherd started his senior season at shooting guard but eventually moved to the point. He earned District 13-5A Defensive Player of the Year honors and was all-district and all-region after averaging 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists in leading Dekaney to the third round of the playoffs.
"I think they (the Cajuns) are getting a great player and a great kid who is just a little unknown," Dekaney assistant coach Clarke Isenhower said. "He was our go-to guy and did a little bit of everything for us. He had 20 rebounds in a game to clinch a playoff spot for us, and that's pretty impressive for a point guard to get 20 rebounds in one game."
With lanky frame, long reach and playmaking ability, Shepherd has already drawn comparisons to current Cajuns guard Elfrid Payton
. Shepherd, though, is considered to have a better perimeter game at this stage of his development.
"I'm known for getting to the rim, playing fast and bringing energy to the floor," said Shepherd, who will be a full academic qualifier. "I like to get the ball ahead and get the ball to my teammates, but I'm also a good shooter and feel comfortable playing both guard spots. And I like to win."
Shepherd's primary recruiter was Cajuns assistant Kevin Johnson, who has made a definite impression on him.
"I thought he was a real nice guy," Shepherd said. "I appreciated the fact he came out to my school from another state to meet with me a few weeks ago. Nobody had done anything like that before for me. Their interest in me playing basketball for them is a big deal to me."
Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns recently picked up a verbal commitment from a versatile guard in Texas after he visited campus. Cajun Red Zone spoke with the new pledge and has everything you need to know about the soon-to-be Cajun.