Commentary: Ogunbowale & Shepard: Future Foretold

This is a new feature, periodic in nature, that will touch on issues and events when it is appropriate. With Notre Dame’s overtime victory last night over UConn the timing is spot on. The Irish have a couple of players that should be familiar to those that cover the club season during the summer. Since I have been coving the summer scene since 2006 you could see that trajectory and destiny were already being foretold back in 2011. Many players can score, the truly competitive ones are few and far between. When you see it, you know it. Here is what I noticed back in the summers of 2011 and 2014 for Arike Ogunbowale and the summers of 2012 and 2013 for Jessica Shepard.  Did I have a premonition?

Yet to Play High School ball:  Arike Ogunbowale of WI Playground Elite is rare in that she can steer the game in her direction—-one of the few that can. In the win against MN Fury Storm WPE was down 5 when Ogunbowale took over. First, she canned a triple to cut the margin to 45-43. Next up she made a drive &1 to further cut the margin to 47-46. On the next possession she duplicated the feat again to tie the game at 49. By that time the momentum shifted. Ogunbowale didn’t score another field goal, but the rest of the team followed her lead with speedy, aggressive action. In the championship win over Kingdom Hoops she had 18 points. Later in the Summer Ogunbowale led Playground to the AAU National championship. She also has the magic touch in the soccer world too when she scored the winning goal in overtime in the grade level national championship.

Ogunbowale Resume: Milwaukee DSHA, 2015….5-8, G….pp100 124.3….floor % .595….Championships: 1x… Trench player: 2x……Team of the Week: 1x……Newcomer of the Week: 1x

She also made one of the superlative lists: Get the Ball to: Arike Ogunbowale, WI Playground Elite 2015

Three years later, during the summer of 2014 she played with North Tartan. She was my player of the summer then:


It is long way from Milwaukee to Minnesota, but to be on an EYBL team Arike Ogunbowale made the journey in 2014. Of course, she also had obligations with the 17u national team. She helped North Tartan Dietel to the cusp of the first EYBL title, until untimely injuries hampered that squad. What set her apart from the rest of the class of 2015 in this neighborhood were her physicality and her will to win. Now some feel that others on NTD would watch and wait to see what Ogunbowale would do, and yes, there were offensive timing issues involved when she returned. Still that does not detract from the fact that she can take control of the game and bend it to her will. She was the catalyst of that team and had the best pp100 for any player in the 2014 summer.

Ogunbowale is the first player from Wisconsin to be named player kjasr Player of the Year.

Ogunbowale Resume: Milwauke Divine Savior-Holy Angels, 2015….. height 5-8…..guard….pp100 133.3…..floor % .632 ….Championships: 2x…..31 club ave 25.20……..31 club: 3x…. Player of the Week: 3x…..Team of the Week: 3x….Distributor of the Week: 1x……Verbal: undecided

Here is the end of the summer reports on Jessica Shepard during that era:

This award is for a player that comes off the bench and gives a boost to their team. Jessica Shepard is just such a player. On many programs she would be a starter and be the focus offensively. On the Bison the 6-3 forward comes off the bench and gives them a different look with either a double low post with Chatrice White or a continuation of four out. For the summer Shepard is one of a few players to be north of .600 floor %. Oddly enough the other was teammate White. Shepard is also tabbed as the best 2015 player in the neighborhood. (which will be posted in an upcoming list).

Player Resume: x; 2013……6-3, C…..pp100 119.6…..floor % .643….31club ave 26.7……31 club: 1x…..Championships: 1x ….. Team of the Week: 2x…..defensive team of the week: 1x…….6th player of the week: 1x…….verballed Nebraska

A year later 2013:

Jessica Shepard causes matchup problems for opponents. No other team had a 6-3 point guard with that kind of strength. Shepard isn’t a classical point guard but is a release in the full court. Once in the half court she formed a twin tower duo with Chatrice White with the NE CSS Bison. For three straight weekends in June Shepard and company were in the thick of battle. They never did take a crown in those events, finishing second twice. Still Shepard was the one that captured the crowd’s attention. Later, away from my eyes, NE CSS Bison won their own Battle on the Plains and then the Blue Star Nationals, where she was named to the All Star team. Nebraska wisely locked her in early.

Shepard is the second Nebraska player to take Player of the Year honors. The first was Stacia Robertson in 2009. Last year Shepard was kjasr 6th player of the year.

Has anyone else noted that the despised 2015 class has taken two of the top prizes this summer?

Shepard Resume: Fremont (was Lincoln Southeast), 2015….. 6-3…..forward….pp100 116.44…..floor % ..577….Championships: 2x…..31 club ave 26.67……..31 club: 3x…. Player of the Week: 1x…..Team of the Week: 2x….Distributor of the Week: 1x……Verbal: Nebraska (transferred to Notre Dame)

Also a few superlatives from the summer of 2013:

Best at pushing the ball up court: Jessica Shepard, NE CSS Bison. Is not addicted to the bounce. Gets the ball up court with one bounce.
Most Versatile: Jessica Shepard, NE CSS Bison….at 6-3 can run the floor, bring the ball up, feed, score, and play defense.

Shepard went to All Iowa Attack in the summer of 2014. Here is what happened to her during that year: The 2013 Player of the Summer—-Jessica Shepard—-was only charted once this year as she was nicked & dinged during June wearing a boot most of the month. So with only one game charted, and a comeback game at that, her numbers were not significant and it was basically a lost summer for her—-at least when I was charting.

Furthermore from 2014 summer review: Both Ogunbowale and Shepard made the USA national teams. Both obviously are impact players.

I am in the process of digesting the high school winter 2017-18 season and will have more to say on that soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.