Kentucky's Shaedon Sharpe to be sidelined until NBA Draft, coach John Calipari says
February 8, 2022
Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari announced on Monday that Shaedon Sharpe, the star recruit of the Wildcats, will not play this season. "After talking with Shaedon and his parents, we want to end all of the speculation by again saying that he will not play for us this season," Calipari tweeted. "He is committed to bettering himself and our team in practice this year and being better prepared to lead us next season." The 6-foot-6 Sharpe was the top prospect in the 2022 class before he enrolled at Kentucky. The 18-year-old is now eligible for the 2022 NBA draft, for he will turn 19 in May. During the EYBL circuit in 2021, Sharpe averaged 22.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.7 assists while shooting 36.1 percent from beyond the arc. He also added 18.1 points, 2.4 assists, and 1.4 steals during his games in FIBA youth tournaments. Sharpe started practicing with the Wildcats last month and was expected to sit out the rest of the season. He was initially going to work on his game and conditioning during the off-season to prepare for his 2022-23 college basketball season.
Calipari threads carefully
It was initially speculated that Sharpe could make his college basketball debut during the winter season. However, after it was revealed that he could be eligible for the NBA draft, the speculation about his participation in the league intensified. During his weekly radio show, the Kentucky coach confirmed that Sharpe was participating in full practices and getting positive feedback from other players. "I think our team would like me to put him in," said the Kentucky coach. "We're doing stuff, and something happens in practice — he does something — and they all kind of look at me like, 'C'mon, now. That's who he is? Put him in.' But you got to make sure you're looking after him," he continued. Despite the tremendous progress of Sharpe, Calipari is not yet ready to make a bold decision regarding the team's chances in the 2022 NCAA Tournament. The coach fears that putting the star shooting guard could mess with the team's chemistry on the court. Sharpe's mentor, Dwayne Washington, said that the athlete would not be participating in the 2022 NBA draft if he didn't perform well for the Wildcats during the season.
Sharpe fits good as modern NBA guards
Although the statement from the Kentucky coach on Monday indicated that Sharpe would not play this season, the speculation about the athlete's future still continues. During a press conference on Monday, assistant coach Jai Lucas talked about Sharpe's status in the University of Kentucky. Previously, it was believed that Sharpe would be a no-brainer to enter the draft. He would be able to earn over $10 million in guaranteed money during his first two years in the league if he was the seventh overall pick. The shooting guard is considered a talented player who could excel in the NBA if he returns to Kentucky for his sophomore year and perform well. Due to his potential, Sharpe is expected to be the top pick in the 2023 draft. The NCAA's new rules allow athletes to make money off their names and images. With the potential of being the first overall pick in 2023, companies would be very interested in acquiring the rights to sign Sharpe.