Reed Sheppard makes a statement in ESPN game

 and  — the first two commitments for the Cats’ 2023 class — played against each other in the featured game of the Las Vegas Big Time Finale, one of the final marquee events on the grassroots basketball calendar this summer.

Sheppard drew widespread praise for his performance in the game, going for 16 points, nine rebounds and four assists to lead Midwest Basketball Club to a 78-67 victory over a talent-packed Strive For Greatness squad.

Dillingham — a 6-foot-2 combo guard from Hickory, N.C. — had 11 points and four assists for Strive For Greatness, a team that featured Bronny James (the son of LeBron James) and added top-five prospects Mookie Cook and Mackenzie Mgbako for this event. Mgbako is committed to Duke, while Cook has been a major target in the past and is still mentioning the Cats as a option. Some analysts are currently predicting that Cook will go the professional route, however.