Ex-Falcon still flying

Published 10:25 am Monday, May 23, 2016

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL – Former Bertie High player Billy McShepard continues to make a name for himself in European basketball.

The 28-year old forward had an amazing evening with a double-double of 35 points and 16 rebounds as Ramat Hasharon defeated the number-two team in the Israeli National League, Galil Gilboa, 98-85.

Galil Gilboa has won 11 of their previous 12 games and was in a tie for first place prior to the loss.

McShepard’s efforts earned him the Eurobasket.com National League Player of the Week award for the 21st week of the Israeli hoop season. Ramat Hasharon currently holds down 8th place in the National League.

“We’re a solid league team maybe somewhere in the middle or a little bit lower in the standings,” said McShepard after receiving the honor. “We need more victories to improve our 9-12 record.”

In the team’s last game McShepard had a remarkable six three-pointers out of 11 attempts. He has turned out to be Ramat Hasharon’s top player in his first season with the team. His current stats for the year show the Valdosta State University (GA) graduate by way of Louisburg College has very impressive stats this year. McShepard is near the league’s top in points (3rd best: 22.6ppg), rebounds (2nd best: 14.3rpg) and averages a solid 1.7 blocked shots per game. He’s also shooting 61.9 percent from the floor and 47.8 percent from behind the three-point line.

The 6’10” McShepard’s college numbers were good enough to get him drafted by the Sioux Falls SkyForce in the NBA D-League out of Valdosta in 2011. Joining the team in 2012 he played in 16 games, starting eight, before he was released after suffering an injury.

Over the next three years, McShepard played in South America, then across the Atlantic to the Middle East where he played for Hoops Lebanon before giving the D-League another shot, this time with the Texas Legends. After another stint there, playing with the likes of former UNC star Rashad McCants, Chris Douglas-Roberts who played at Duke, and John Lucas III, McShepard took some time off from the game before heading to Germany in 2014 and Austria, where he spent last season.

“My first season overseas wasn’t really hard but it was definitely an adjustment,” McShepard said. “I had to adjust to new surroundings, being away from family, different culture, food and the time difference just to name a few. But overall it was a great experience and I love what I do. There are a few differences in basketball here but it’s pretty much the same for the most part. Basketball in Europe is a bit more structured and maybe a little more physical in my opinion.”

Now with two games left, McShepard will be a big part of his team’s push to make the post-season. He hopes his leadership and maturity rubs off on some of the team’s younger players.

“I try to encourage the younger players to stay focused and be aggressive at all times,” McShepard says. “The most important thing is for them to keep working hard and learning the game.”

McShepard is the son of Tammy Capehart of Windsor and Billy McShepard of Lorain, Ohio.