Why Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe is eligible for the 2022 NBA Draft

Former #1 ranked high school basketball player Shaedon Sharpe declared for 2022 NBA Draft in June but maintains his college eligibility, he said in a tweet Thursday morning.

“These last four months in Kentucky have been nothing short of amazing,” Sharpe said. “Having Coach Cal and the rest of the coaching staff, my teammates/brothers and the Big Blue Nation welcome me into the family has been a real blessing.”

The 6-foot-6 shooter hasn’t played a single minute at Kentucky, having joined the team in January, and has said on numerous occasions that he plans to return for the 2022-23 season to play for the team. head coach John Calipari.

That all changed in late January when it was revealed that Sharpe would be eligible for the 2022 NBA Draft whether he played the final college season or not.

This is where the confusion set in for Kentucky fans.

Sharpe played his last high school basketball game for Dream City Christian (Arizona) on October 17, 2021 in Las Vegas. It was a nationally televised match on ESPN against Prolific Prep in California. At the time, Sharpe was playing as a fifth-year senior, having completed all class requirements in May.

The high school prep circuit differs from a school high school basketball in that every game played in the fall is more or less counted as a scrimmage and does not count towards the regular season schedule. That’s why Sharpe was allowed to play, although the games were broadcast on national television.

His arrival in Kentucky generated a lot of hype and fans were eager to see him put on the Wildcats. The notion of “will he play” or “will he not play” in the second half was a hot topic. Calipari put him to rest on February 7 declare in a tweet“After talking to Shaedon and his parents, we want to put an end to all speculation by saying again that he will not be playing for us this season.”

Calipari then fueled more speculation about Sharpe’s return for the 2022-23 season, telling reporters after a game the next day: “If that kid comes back, he’s the first draft pick. How can I say that? Because that I had four!”

Once Sharpe, 18, was eligible for this year’s draft, NBA scouts and front office executives flocked to Lexington for practice, knowing that now might be the only time to have an eye on Sharpe.

The narrative of Sharpe’s return in the fall should have been put to rest when he continually began to emerge as a top 10 prospect in the NBA’s fake drafts at every level.

The five-star prospect averaged 21.4 points, six rebounds and three assists in his senior season in high school. He helped Canada win the silver medal at the FIBA ​​U16 Americas Championship 2019, averaging 13 points per game. Last summer, Sharpe topped Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League, averaging 22.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists per outing. He’s one of the best players in transition, has incredible pace and a solid 3-point jumper.

There’s enough to project what he’s going to be like professionally, and he doesn’t need a year in college to prove it.

“I need to take this next step to officially go through the process, to test the waters and receive feedback,” Sharpe said.

Sharpe’s current draft lineup sits between fourth and seventh overall, and he’s already started to provide an overview of the work he does during the pre-draft process.

Sharpe’s time in Kentucky could undoubtedly have been handled better, but this decision should come as no surprise.

Calipari and his coaching staff knew what they were getting when they allowed Sharpe to sit down in the second half and work on his game behind closed doors in practice. He may not have played a single game, but he will always be seen as a product of Kentucky and Calipari, one of the best to ever bring players to the league.

Shaedon Sharpe, who has never played at Kentucky, is eligible for the 2022 NBA Draft and is projected as a top 10 selection. (Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

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