When news broke that Shaedon Sharpe was enrolling early with the Kentucky Wildcats, many wondered if he could bring an added spark to an already-dangerous team that could become an even stronger title contender.
However, Sharpe hasn’t been at UK yet, leaving uncertainty as to when he’d actually arrive and practice with his new teammates.
Wonder no more, as The Athletic’s Kyle Tucker reports that Sharpe will begin practicing with the Wildcats on Thursday. That means he’ll get in a few days of work before UK hosts Georgia on Saturday, though he won’t be playing in games for several weeks as he gets his conditioning up to college speed and gets comfortable with his new teammates.
Still, it’s great that he’ll be on campus and practicing soon, which could give him a chance to play and even carve out a role on this team as SEC play progresses.
Originally the No. 1 overall recruit in the Class of 2022, the 6-foot-5, 185-pound Sharpe just completed his high school career at Dream City Christian in Arizona. He committed to Kentucky in September.
Once he reclassified, 247 Sports placed Sharpe at the No. 3 spot for the 2021 class, trailing only Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero. Recruiting guru Eric Bossi compares Sharpe to Chicago Bulls star Zac Lavine.
Kentucky entered the 2021-22 season with what looked to be a loaded backcourt that Sharpe would have been hard to crack the rotation in as a mid-year enrollee. However, CJ Fredrick is out for the season due to injury, Davion Mintz has been highly erratic, and Dontaie Allen can’t do enough to stay on the floor.
So while it will take time, it’s very possible Sharpe earns a role in this rotation as the season progresses if that’s what Sharpe and head coach John Calipari want and think is best for this team.
But the real goal here is to help ensure Sharpe is fully up to speed and accustomed to the college game when the 2022-23 season begins, as he’ll likely be projected as one of the top players in the country next season. The valuable practice time he gets over the next three months will help ensure that comes to fruition.
Though he’s enrolling early, Sharpe is not believed to be eligible for the 2022 NBA Draft.