Kelowna’s Shephard a world champion

Former KSS Owl and soon-to-be UBC Thunderbird wins gold with Canada at world U19 basketball finals

Kelowna’s Grant Shephard now has own piece of Canadian basketball history.

The 18-year-old former KSS Owl helped Canada win its first ever world basketball title—at any level—Sunday in Cairo, Egypt.

The 6-foot-11 Shephard chipped in six points and grabbed six rebounds as Canada defeated Italy 79-60 in the FIBA world U19 championship final.

Shephard, who will join UBC Thunderbirds’ program this fall, averaged 5.3 points per game during the tournament.

He saved his best play for the championship round, putting up 12 points and five rebounds in both the quarterfinal against France and the semifinal vs the U.S.

In the semifinal against the Americans, Shephard played a key role, shooting 5-of-7 from the field and grabbing a team-high four offensive rebounds.

Harry Parmar, Shephard’s coach at KSS for two seasons, is thrilled for his former player and all of his Canadian teammates.

“I saw the last two minutes of the American game on tape, and it was a surreal moment for Grant (the Canadian team),” said Parmar. “Canada rarely beats the U.S. in basketball, so to do that and then go on to win Canada’s first world title is great to see.

“Grant did a great job,” Parmar added. “To be 18 on a U19 team is a big accomplishment. I’m guessing he turned some heads with his play at the tournament.”

It’s been an eventful and successful past 16 months for Shephard.

During his Grade 11 year, in March 2016, Shephard helped lead the KSS Owls to the B.C. 4A boys high school basketball championship, capping off the tournament with MVP honours.

Shephard then played his Grade 12 year at Monteverde Academy in Florida, where he helped the team compile a 26-5 overall record and earn a second-place finish at the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School Nationals.

This spring, Shephard committed to UBC Thunderbirds for the 2017-18 Canada West season.

“To win a world championship is an amazing accomplishment,” said UBC head coach Kevin Hanson. “The team made history and we are very proud Grant was a part of it.

“This is great for Grant and it bodes well for the future of our program. He made history by being on the first Okanagan boys basketball team to win a BC high school AAAA championship and is once again a part of history by being part of the first ever U-19 Canadian national squad to win a FIBA world championship.”