It was reported a few days ago that top prospect Shaedon Sharpe will be eligible to apply for the 2022 draft, which could have a ripple effect on the projected lottery selections this summer. Kyle Tucker and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic explore the next steps for both Kentucky and Sharpe, who has yet to play a game for the Wildcats. Sources tell The Athletic that although Sharpe is able to apply, there are still questions as to whether he would actually be granted eligibility by the NBA.
Tucker relays that Kentucky wasn’t surprised by the news that Sharpe was eligible to apply for the draft, as it was always a possibility. Sharpe just joined the Wildcats at the beginning of January and hasn’t even gone through a full practice yet. Coach John Calipari said the report doesn’t change anything from his perspective.
“It doesn’t change anything. He plans on being here next year. He’s watching. Whether I play him or not this year, if he’s ready to be able to be in games, I’ll put him in. But he’s a great kid and he’s doing well and he’s going to make practices even better. He’s only been here two weeks. But at the end of the day, you know I’m going to be for kids. That’s how I do this,” Calipari said.
The plan all along has been for Sharpe to sit out the ’22 season and suit up for 2022/23. Tucker had a text exchange with Sharpe’s mother, Julia Bell, to verify the plan was still in place and she confirmed that it was. Tucker believes that Sharpe will end up playing at some point this season, but Vecenie thinks that it would behoove him not to.
Vecenie hasn’t projected Sharpe in any mock drafts for ’22 due to the murkiness of his eligibility, but he believes the 6’6″ wing has the upside to be the No. 1 overall pick. If Sharpe does end up applying and is granted eligibility by the NBA, Vecenie says he’d rank him around No. 5 on his board and would be surprised if he fell outside of the top 10. Sharpe would immediately become one of top wing prospects in a draft that is mostly known for its big men.
Here’s more from around the basketball world:
- Speaking of the ’22 draft, Chad Ford provides version 3.1 of his latest NBA Big Board, with Jabari Smith Jr. at No. 1, Chet Holmgren No. 2, and Sharpe No. 5.
- Devon Dotson, who was waived by the Bulls last week in order to sign Malcolm Hill to a two-way deal, is expected to land with Chicago’s G League affiliate, the Windy City Bulls, according to veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein of Substack (via Twitter).
- Former NBA player Toney Douglas has signed with Israeli team Hapoel Eilat, per Dario Skerletic of Sportando. Douglas began the season with Greek team Iraklis BC. Douglas appeared in parts of eight seasons in the NBA, last suiting up with Memphis in 2016/17. Across 394 games, he averaged 7.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists per contest.
- In an Insider-only article for ESPN, Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz explore the 2023 draft class in a mock draft, with French 7’3″ big man Victor Wembanyana going No. 1 and Scoot Henderson of G League Ignite No. 2.