Kentucky's Shaedon Sharpe Declares for 2022 NBA Draft; Projected Lottery Pick

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVApril 21, 2022

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY - FEBRUARY 12: Shaedon Sharpe #21 of the Kentucky Wildcats warms up before the game against the Florida Gators at Rupp Arena on February 12, 2022 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Kentucky shooting guard Shaedon Sharpe has declared for the 2022 NBA draft.

Shaedon Sharpe @ShaedonSharpe

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Shams Charania and Kyle Tucker of The Athletic first reported Sharpe's intention to declare.

Sharpe is a potential lottery pick, and in a mock draft released last week, Bleacher Report NBA draft expert Jonathan Wasserman projected that the 18-year-old will go seventh overall to the Sacramento Kings.

After graduating early from Dream City Christian High School in Glendale, Arizona, Sharpe enrolled early at Kentucky prior to the 2021-22 season.

The plan was for Sharpe to practice with the team and then make his debut in 2022-23. Despite speculation that he would instead play at some point during the 2021-22 campaign, both sides stayed the course.

Kentucky head coach John Calipari insisted throughout most of the process that Sharpe would be back in 2022-23 to play for the Wildcats, but things changed along the way.

Most notably, it was initially thought that Sharpe would not be eligible to enter the 2022 NBA draft, but reports later surfaced that rules actually would permit him to be part of the 2022 class.

Rather than attempting to help Kentucky return to the top of college basketball next season, it appears as though Sharpe will try to establish himself as one of the top rookies in the NBA.

At the time of his commitment to Kentucky, Sharpe was ranked as the No. 3 overall player and No. 1 shooting guard in his recruiting class by 247Sports.

Eric Bossi, who is a recruiting evaluator for 247Sports, compared Sharpe to Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine because of his athleticism and explosiveness, and he projected that Sharpe would be a first-round pick in the NBA.

When Sharpe gets drafted, he will join a growing number of Canada-born stars in the NBA, such as RJ Barrett of the New York Knicks, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets and Andrew Wiggins of the Golden State Warriors.