Damon Brooks Jr.
The last time Shaedon Sharpe played a competitive basketball game was his senior year of high school playing for Dream City Christian in Glendale, Arizona in 2021.
Sharpe cut the edge, while showing his reach from behind the arc with several 3 deep points. This served as a preview of its limitless potential. The 6-foot 6-foot explosive guard was a highly sought-after prospect who eventually decided to attend the University of Kentucky.
The # 1 consensus candidate for the 2022 class graduated a semester early and enrolled in Kentucky in January to prepare for the 2022-23 college season. Kentucky manager John Calipari reportedly flirted with the idea of playing Sharpe last season after finding out he was eligible for the NBA draft.
But Sharpe has never played in a match, instead participating with the team only as a practice player. Calipari had said he expected Sharpe to return to Kentucky next season when he was expected to lead a roster with national title aspirations.
Instead, Sharpe declared in April for the NBA draft. And while he hasn’t played a single minute for the Wildcats, he is projected as a lottery winner.
USA TODAY Sports, ESPN and The Athletic screen it at number 7 respectively in their most recent mock drafts. Sports Illustrated is showing it at number 9. The Sporting News has Sharpe at number 5.
Sharpe’s talent is undeniable, but his recent downtime causes “mystery” as many are curious if his game can translate to the next level.
“In my mind, he’s the number 1 pick in the draft,” Calipari said in a February interview with Kentucky Sports Radio. “How can I say I know what the number 1 pick looks like in the draft? Because I had four [of them]. “
Before arriving in Kentucky, he was the best potential customer in the 2022 class, according to the 247Sports Composite Rating.
Sharpe moved to Dream City Christian after an impressive career at Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Aire, Kansas. In his junior year at Sunrise Christian, he took them to a 22-3 record and several national television appearances.
He chose Kentucky over Kansas, Alabama, Arizona, Oregon, Creighton and others.
When Sharpe joined the program in January, he could have made his way into the lineup. He had said he would only play if necessary.
But even though he’s never played alongside other Kentucky draft contenders like TyTy Washington, he’s happy with how it all turned out in his one season at Lexington.
“Everything happens for a reason, so I don’t regret not playing,” Sharpe said.
Sharpe is an explosive athlete, with the ability to score on all three levels of the court. The Canadian native has a very fast first step and a lethal crossover that allows him to easily reach scoring positions.
It also has the ability to defend at a high level and wreak havoc in the fast lane with its 6-foot-11 1/2 wingspan.
While his game relies on his ability to score in short bursts, Sharpe is confident in his ability to execute an attack and find teammates open for scoring opportunities.
“I think I’m a high-level scorer, plus I can engage my teammates and find them even when they’re open and on the defensive side by blocking and playing one to five,” said Sharpe.
Sharpe models his game after some of today’s NBA All-Stars and hopes to emulate the success they enjoyed.
“Right now I’m really looking at Bradley Beal, Jayson Tatum and Zach LaVine.” Sharpe told NBC Sports Washington.