Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari has now released a statement on Shaedon Sharpe declaring for the NBA Draft.
“Shaedon and his family told me that he intends to put his name in the draft while retaining his eligibility, and they have my full support to test the process just as every player does,” Calipari said in a press release. “Shaedon has been a great teammate and has handled everything that comes with being a college student-athlete the way he should.
“Since he arrived on our campus, he’s been an integral part of our program and he’s already registered for summer and fall classes, but we support this decision to explore every option and make the best decision for his future based on all of the information he can receive.”
Again, just assume Sharpe is NBA-bound until someone legit says otherwise.
Shaedon Sharpe has officially declared for the 2022 NBA Draft, but he is maintaining his college eligibility for now.
Unless something drastically changes, just expect him to stay in the draft.
One of the more polarizing situations of the John Calipari has seemingly come to its conclusion.
Kentucky Wildcats guard Shaedon Sharpe will enter the 2022 NBA Draft and forgo his college eligibility, according to multiple media reports.
This comes after reports that Sharpe would potentially not be eligible for the draft after waiting too long to graduate, but it turns out he did so last May. That means there’s at least a full year between his graduation and the draft he’s entering, so he’s good to go this year.
Despite not playing in one single minute of game action as a Wildcat, Sharpe, who will turn age 19 just a few days ahead of the draft, is still projected to be a top-10 pick by most all reputable sources.
When you put it like that, it becomes extremely difficult to question his decision knowing it’s one that’ll yield him millions of dollars from a team that’s invested in his future.
Kentucky freshman Shaedon Sharpe will declare for the 2022 NBA Draft, and stay in, team sources tell me and @KyleTucker_ATH. NBA teams project Sharpe as a potential high draft lottery pick.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 21, 2022
The flip side is arguing that with another year of development and exposure at Kentucky, Shaedon Sharpe could be a legitimate contender for the 1 pick in 2023’s NBA Draft, thus making it a potentially smart financial decision to return.
The two sides of the spectrum did a number dividing the Big Blue Nation this season once Sharpe joined the team in the second semester around early January.
Before January, most operated under the impression that Sharpe wouldn’t be eligible for the next NBA Draft, making his commitment to play at UK a lock for the 2022-2023 season.
Sharpe’s camp told KSR in October he wasn’t a fifth-year senior. Said there was zero doubt, left Dream City because he was ready for the challenge at Kentucky.
Now the documents magically appear indicating he graduated in May of 2021.
Kentucky isn’t to blame here.
—Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) April 21, 2022
Then reports began to surface that Sharpe would indeed be old enough and eligible for the 2022 NBA Draft, prompting these comments by John Calipari on January 21st.
“No, it doesn’t change anything. He plans on being here next year.” Calipari said. “He’s watching. Whether I play him or not this year, if he’s ready to be in games, I’ll put him in. But he’s a great kid. He’s doing well. He’s going to make practices even better. He’s only been here two weeks. At the end of the day, you know I’m going to be for kids. That’s how I do this.”
A few weeks later on February 8th Calipari shut down the speculation completely by informing the college basketball world that Shaedon Sharpe would definitely not be playing for Kentucky 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.
He is committed to bettering himself and our team in practice this year and being better prepared to lead us next season.
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) February 7, 2022
Many fans were perfectly fine allowing a phenomenal talent like Shaedon Sharpe to have a seat on the bench, even if it meant only having him as a practice body and eventual UK brand ambassador in the NBA.
While others took the stance of reminding John Calipari that the University of Kentucky isn’t an NBA preparatory academy, it’s a storied program that puts winning basketball games above all else.
Regardless of where you stood, you can still wish Sharpe well on his upcoming professional career while also acknowledging the fact that losing him to the NBA before he ever suited up to play for Kentucky kind of stinks.
If nothing else warm-ups were way more exciting with Sharpe on the roster.
Hopefully, everyone will attempt to swallow any negativity they may have about how the situation played out and just wish him the best as he takes the leap to professional basketball. I’m confident the Big Blue Nation will have his back and support him wherever he lands in the NBA.
Best of luck to Sharpe as he heads to the pros!