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Shaedon Sharpe Won't Play for Kentucky This Season, Per HC John Calipari

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 7, 2022

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Top NBA draft prospect Shaedon Sharpe will not play for Kentucky this season after joining the program in January, coach John Calipari announced Monday.

"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," Calipari said in a tweet. "He is committed to bettering himself and our team in practice this year and being better prepared to lead us next season."

The 18-year-old Sharpe was the No. 1 prospect in the 2022 high school recruiting class, per 247Sports, before reclassifying and enrolling at Kentucky last month. He is eligible for the 2022 NBA draft because he turns 19 in May.

Calipari has said he expects Sharpe to play for the Wildcats during the 2022-23 season. He is ranked as ESPN's No. 7 player in the 2022 NBA draft.

In previous years, it might be a no-brainer for Sharpe to enter the draft and reap the benefits of being a lottery pick. He would make at least $10.1 million in guarantees over his first two NBA seasons if he went with the seventh overall pick.

That said, new NCAA rules that allow college players to make money off their name, image and likeness could reap dividends. Several prominent athletes have reached deals that approach or surpass seven figures, and brands would likely want to get in on the ground floor of a player who could be the No. 1 overall pick in 2023.

Sharpe is a 6'6" shooting guard who is a bouncy athlete off the dribble and has an impressive shooting stroke; he's a Platonic ideal of a modern NBA 2-guard. If he returns to Kentucky in 2022-23 and excels, he could make more money in the long run. The top pick of the 2023 NBA draft is slotted to make $19.4 million over his first two seasons. 

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