Not so fast, according to his former coach and current mentor, Dwayne Washington.
In an interview with KSR, Washington revealed that Sharpe has already turned down millions of dollars to play at Kentucky, so they’re not about to give in now and chase the NBA money too soon.
With professional organizations begging for his commitment — Washington tells KSR that Sharpe turned down “four, five million dollars” from “every pro situation that was available” — they chose the guarantee: development under Calipari at Kentucky.
“It’s pretty idiotic. Everybody knew that this was an option, but we’re not taking it,” Washington told KSR. “He lost millions coming to school. He came to get better. … You come to get ready if you want to go to the NBA, which is one of the goals. You have to be ready. People don’t respect Calipari’s ability to develop enough, that’s why (Shaedon’s) there.
Of course, NIL money can certainly help account for a good chunk of that money, and you have to think even bigger NIL deals are coming for Sharpe if he’s on campus when the 2022-23 season rolls around.
Plus, while he would likely be a top-10 pick if he enters this year’s draft, it’s pretty clear Sharpe and his inner circle believe he’ll contend for the No. 1 overall pick in 2023 if he plays at Kentucky next season.
Does that mean we could still see Sharpe play this season?
Following Saturday’s loss at Auburn — a game Kentucky lost guards TyTy Washington and Sahvir Wheeler to injury — head coach John Calipari admitted he wished there was more time to get Sharpe up to speed.
“I just wish we had a bunch of practice time where I had two weeks with him (Sharpe) to where we could run 3-4 different things and him defensively play because he’s a terrific player,” Calipari said.
“I have told his parents that I’m not going to put him in a position where he hurts himself. I’m not,” Calipari said. “We’re going to do the process of this, and if he ends up playing this year because he’s capable of doing it and he can play, we’ll play him.
“But I’m not just shoving him in so we can win another game or stay closer. I’m not going to do that.”
While it’s reasonable to wonder if he will actually be on campus when next season tips off, Sharpe and his inner circle deserve the benefit of the doubt from fans and media.