Why didn’t Shaedon Sharpe ever play for Kentucky?

One of the top-rated NBA draft candidates is Kentucky freshman Shaedon Sharpe. But he never played college basketball for a second.

Despite being healthy, he didn’t see the bottom even when the John Calipari-led Wildcats played in March Madness. Sharpe, who hails from Canada, was ranked as the top overall recruit in the class of 2022. However, he chose to graduate early from high school and enroll in Kentucky for the spring semester.

When that sweeping decision was made, coverage at the time suggested that Sharpe (unlike Emoni Bates) would actually be eligible for the 2022 NBA draft.

The 6-foot-6 guard was enrolled in Dream City Christian, Arizona, prior to Kentucky. Sharpe turns 19 on May 30 and the draft is June 23, meaning he will be a year away from high school and meet the age requirements to apply for the draft.

Although Sharpe practiced and trained with the team, Calipari revealed that “there was never a plan” to play Sharpe.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz wrote an excellent synopsis of why Sharpe decided to turn pro:

“Talking to NBA teams, they’re all preparing for Sharpe ultimately going to be in the draft and saying they’ll be surprised when he isn’t. Historically, in his situation (predicted lottery picks, likely top 10 picks) 99.9% of players end up giving up because it’s just too risky to go back to school, risk a bad game, or an injury, and to see their stocks fall.

Sharpe averaged 22.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game in 2021 while shooting 36.1% on 3-pointers on the Nike EYBL circuit, according to Cerebro Sports.

He added 18.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.4 steals and 0.8 blocks per game while participating in The Grind Session. Sharpe also made an excellent contribution for Canada when he competed in FIBA ​​youth tournaments.

In the most recent showings we’ve seen from Sharpe, he’s been dominant. If he was coming out of the gates slowly (e.g. see: Jaden Hardy, Patrick Baldwin Jr., or a bunch of potential top NBA draft picks whose on-court performance hampered their draft stick), he could risk his permanent spot as projected lottery tip.

It feels counterintuitive, but sometimes the best thing a player can do for their draft inventory is literally nothing; its mystique could possibly Curls an NBA team.

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