In advance of NBA draft on June 23, Yahoo Sports will highlight top prospects. Today’s prospect is Warden Shaedon Sharpe from Kentucky.
Who is Shaedon Sharpe?
Sharpe is a 6-foot-5 shooting guard who had a meteoric rise in high school from a top 80 recruit to the No. 1 player in the country in less than a year. In his senior high school season, he averaged 21.4 points, six rebounds and three assists. He helped Canada win the silver medal at the 2019 FIBA U16 Americas Championship, averaging 13 points per game. Last summer, Sharpe dominated Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League, averaging 22.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.
Sharpe chose Kentucky early (after graduating in May and playing fallball at the prep level for Dream City Christian in Arizona) and was eligible to play as a sophomore. His arrival in Kentucky was met with a lot of hype and fans were dying to see him line up for the Wildcats. The question of “will he” or “won’t he” play in the second semester was a hot topic. Head coach John Calipari retired on February 7th say in a tweet“Having spoken to Shaedon and his parents, we want to put an end to all speculation by saying once again that he will not play for us this season.”
Sharpe did not play and said on numerous occasions that he would be back for the 2021/22 season. After declaring for the draft and maintaining his college eligibility to receive feedback from NBA teams, Sharpe announced in April that he would remain in this year’s draft, much to the anger and dismay of Kentucky fans.
Shaedon Sharpe’s Strengths as a Pro
The only group of work scouts Sharpe has to study comes from his high school and AAU seasons. For his last few games of the fall, Sharpe seemed checked out, knowing he would be arriving in Lexington a few weeks later. Diving into his movie, he’s one of the best transition players, has incredible pace in his game and a solid 3-point knight.
Sharpe elected to sit out and not participate in any of the NBA draft combine tests. He could have done himself a lot of favors just going through the drills and showing his reported 49 inch vertical jump.
Shaedon Sharpe’s next-level questions
Sharpe remains the biggest mystery in the draft. Many NBA scouts and front office executives were frustrated that Sharpe wasn’t playing this year, and several scouts told Yahoo Sports that Calipari chose which teams were featured in Sharpe’s practice this year.
His time off from competitive basketball is a real concern, and the fact that he missed every opportunity to demonstrate his skills on the court during the preliminary draft process doesn’t help. That being said, Sharpe was #1 in high school for a reason. The game is easy for him and he is extremely talented.
What scouts say
Many lottery executives are concerned about how Sharpe will adjust to the pace of NBA play after not playing a single minute of college basketball.
“It’s frustrating to rate a player who hasn’t played a competitive game in over a year,” an NBA executive told Yahoo Sports. “He has huge advantages but there has to be some concern as to how much he has developed off the pitch or not in the last year.”
Regardless of his situation and the fact that he doesn’t play all year, Sharpe is still a likely top 10 pick. When played to his full potential, he’s an Anthony Edwards-like player and could end up being the steal of the draft.