Kentucky's Shaedon Sharpe Says He's Aiming to Be No. 1 Pick in 2022 NBA Draft

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIMay 20, 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 told Shams Charania of Stadium in an interview that dropped Friday that he's aiming to become the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NBA draft.

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe sits down with <a href="https://twitter.com/Stadium?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Stadium</a>: “I’m going for the No. 1 spot… Getting info back from teams that I want to hear, that really convinced me and pushed me to stay in the Draft and declare.” On Bradley Beal/Devin Booker role models, mystery label, much more. <a href="https://t.co/jhOcXrmxaL">pic.twitter.com/jhOcXrmxaL</a>

The top three appear to be Duke forward Paolo Banchero, Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren and Auburn big man Jabari Smith, Jr. in some order, but Sharpe's name is consistently found in the top 10 of NBA draft big boards and mock drafts.

Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report notably has him going fifth overall to the Detroit Pistons in his latest mock.

"Though Sharpe has the least film among projected green-room invitees, it sounds like his combination of age (19), explosive bounce, shot-making and mystery is becoming too enticing," Wasserman wrote.

"His talent and shooting skill are built to shine in workouts. And as a 6'6" interchangeable wing, the Pistons shouldn't have any trouble fitting him in."

It'll be hard for Sharpe to sneak into the top three, let alone the No. 1 spot. He has a bit of an obstacle in front of him compared to other top prospects because he doesn't have any game tape from last year. As UK head coach John Calipari announced on Feb. 7, the plan was for Sharpe to sit this year and play in 2022-23.

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, Sharpe was also eligible to enter the 2022 NBA draft because he will turn 19 years old on May 30.

That's the choice he's made, and Sharpe looks like a great candidate to go in the top five. Many analysts rave about his potential at the next level, including ESPN's Mike Schmitz in a Feb. 28 report:

"This latest viewing was a reminder of just how physically talented and skilled Sharpe truly is, and there's a real argument to be made that he's the best perimeter prospect in this 2022 class, should he opt to enter and stay in the draft. Depending on what you think of prospects like Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero and Jaden Ivey, you could make a case that he has as much long-term upside as anyone, especially with NBA teams clamoring for perimeter players who can create offense for themselves and others at all three levels."

He's an intriguing prospect to say the least. If he doesn't go No. 1 overall, Sharpe shouldn't wait too much longer to hear his name called on draft day, which will go down June 23 from Brooklyn, New York's Barclays Center.