John Calipari Trying to Get Shaedon Sharpe to Return to Kentucky, Forgo NBA Draft

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIApril 22, 2022

AUBURN, AL - JANUARY 22:  Shaedon Sharpe #21 of the Kentucky Wildcats warms up prior to the game against the Auburn Tigers at Auburn Arena on January 22, 2022 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Kentucky guard Shaedon Sharpe has announced his intention to enter the NBA draft, but Wildcats head coach John Calipaari said it's not a done deal.

"All I can tell you is he may do this, but it is not done," Calipari said Friday on SportsTalk with Dan Issel and Mike Pratt on ESPN 680 in Louisville (h/t ESPN's Myron Medcalf).

"Nothing has changed in the last two months about how we're going about this. I'm talking to his mother and father, and we're talking once a week. I'm not overbearing with the stuff, but they will play a part in this."

Sharpe tweeted on Thursday that he was entering the NBA draft while maintaining his college eligibility:

Shaedon Sharpe @ShaedonSharpe

<a href="https://t.co/ERdmPdyyUI">pic.twitter.com/ERdmPdyyUI</a>

Sharpe did not play for Kentucky in 2021-22. The plan was for him to sit this season out and lead the Wildcats in 2022-23, per Calipari.

John Calipari @UKCoachCalipari

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. <br><br>He is committed to bettering himself and our team in practice this year and being better prepared to lead us next season.

However, that plan appears to be in jeopardy now.

Sharpe is already highly ranked on draft analysts' boards. Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report (seventh), ESPN (sixth), CBS Sports (fifth) and The Ringer (sixth) all have him in the top seven.

Perhaps Sharpe can improve his draft stock with a year at Kentucky, but he appears destined to be a top-10 pick without even setting foot on a college court. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him cash in on the predraft hype and jump to the NBA given his immense potential.

Even without Sharpe, Kentucky should be loaded next year with a pair of top-10 recruits in Chris Livingston and Cason Wallace. With him, Kentucky should be among the preseason favorites to be No. 1 in the nation.

For now, Sharpe's basketball future is a big question mark given the contrast of his declaration and Calipari's recent comments.