“It was a tough decision, but I felt they had a clear plan for me as I work to play at the highest level,” Sharpe told ESPN. “Coach Cal took the time to understand who I was as a person and how to get the best out of me. Kentucky felt the most like home to me. I get the sense that I can grow to reach my potential on and off the court at Kentucky given the platform, atmosphere and legacy.”
Calipari has had 43 players drafted in his 12 seasons at Kentucky, including 32 first-rounders and 21 lottery picks, something Sharpe said played a role in his decision to commit to the school.
“Coach Cal’s track record of developing NBA players had a major impact on my decision,” Sharpe said. “I can see that he does a great job of working with athletes of my position and playing style and getting them to be the best versions of themselves. His experience is a large part of why I chose UK, but he believed in the vision and goals that I had for myself as well.”
— Shaedon Sharpe (@ShaedonSharpe) September 7, 2021
Sharpe made a dramatic rise from unranked recruit a year ago to arguably the top prospect in high school basketball, especially once Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren announced they’ve elected to move up to the class of 2021 and enroll at Memphis a year early.
The Canadian-born shooting guard averaged 22.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 28 minutes over 12 games at the EYBL in July, leading the event in points scored and finishing in the top five in 3-pointers made. He combines a prototypical frame with elite shot-making and explosive finishing ability, regularly coming up with highlight-reel-caliber dunks, blocks and put-backs.
“The plan put forth by my coach Dwayne Washington was always to peak at the right time, stay in the background, develop, develop, eliminate distractions and then perform when it’s time. With that said, I would attribute the ranking rise in trusting in the process of development, transparency and hard work,” Sharpe said. “In addition, playing on the right Circuit (Nike EYBL) and high school team where my coaches were able to put me in the right position and around the right teammates where I can be best utilized. My on and off court development with Washington was the key factor to build the skills and mentality needed to be at my best. I believe Coach Cal will be able to help me in similar ways as my club and high school coaches did.”
Sharpe will play his senior year under Kyle Weaver at Dream City Christian in Glendale, Arizona, which will play a national schedule with several high-profile showcases including games at the Hoophall Classic, the Grind Session, and more.
Sharpe joins Skyy Clark, the No. 16 prospect in the ESPN 100, in Kentucky’s 2022 recruiting class. The team will likely have several holdovers from a preseason top-10 team that is one of the most veteran squads John Calipari has put together in his time at Kentucky, which was built in no small part from the NCAA transfer portal.
Jonathan Givony is an NBA Draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analytics service utilized by NBA, NCAA and International teams.