Tonight, sixty young men will hear their names as they are drafted into the NBA and their dreams will become a reality.
Since becoming the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats, John Calipari has been the best at getting players to the NBA. In his thirteen seasons, Calipari has helped 43 players to be drafted - 32 of those being first-rounders - which is the best mark in college basketball by a substantial margin (Duke: 31 draft picks).
This year, Kentucky is looking to add to that list with TyTy Washington and Shaedon Sharpe projected to be selected in the first round.
Note: Shaedon Sharpe will be announced as a Kentucky Wildcat, therefore for the sake of this article Sharpe will be considered a Wildcat.
For much of the season, TyTy Washington was seen a potential mid-late NBA lottery pick, but has seen his stock fall in recent weeks. Part of this is due to his injuries towards the end of the season, but some of it is also due to team needs and fit. Several teams in the 10-20 range have strong pieces at the point guard spot and would rather use the pick for another position in need.
In his time at Kentucky, Washington displayed a strong feel for the game. Teams looking for a solid backup point guard such as the Memphis Grizzlies, Atlanta Hawks, and Minnesota Timberwolves will gladly welcome an intelligent and steady-handed guard that can play on or off the ball.
In recent drafts, former Wildcats such as Tyrese Maxey and Immanuel Quickley fell in the draft and outperformed their selection. Washington has the potential to do the same.
Labeled as the “mystery” of this year’s NBA Draft Shaedon Sharpe could be picked as 5th or slide outside of the top 10. While some believe that Sharpe is one of the best players in this draft class, others - including NBA personnel - are yet to be sold on his star potential.
Sharpe possesses the physical tools and athleticism to go along with a dynamic perimeter game. However, it is difficult for teams to make a confident decision based on AAU tape and Sharpe will only be selected by a team that is willing to take the risk.
Coverage of the 2021 NBA Draft begins at 8 pm ET on ABC and ESPN.