Earliest this month, Shaedon Sharpe, the consensus no. 1 recruit in the class of 2022, made the decision to enroll at Kentucky early and join the team in January.
There was worry that he may leave for the NBA after the 2022 Spring Semester, however, since Sharpe did not graduate high school prior to the start of the NBA season he will not be eligible for next year’s NBA Draft.
With that being said, barring any rule changes, he will definitely be playing on next year’s Kentucky team, but could he play this season?
When asked about the topic in a press conference on Thursday, Calipari said, “I don’t think so. But you know, when he gets here, he may not be in any kind of shape to really do it. But, we’ll see.”
It’s not a yes, but it’s not a no. Looking at this from an outside perspective, I believe when Sharpe gets into practice and starts to show why he is worthy of his no. 1 ranking, it’s going to be hard for the coaching staff to keep him from playing.
Oscar Tshiebwe did the same last season and joined last year’s team for the 2021 spring semester (Lord, he could have helped), and it looks to have paid off for him and the team to start this season.
However, unless an unforeseen backcourt injury or team struggle occurs, I believe that it is unlikely that Sharpe will play this season and I say this for two reasons.
First, this team already has depth with Tyty, Wheeler, Mintz, and Allen in the backcourt and all of them have shown they are capable of contributing at some point in their time at Kentucky. Secondly, I don’t see Calipari risking Sharpe getting injured.
Whether Sharpe plays or not, just his presence in practice will help this year’s team and his development for next season.
Louisville Basketball Using Kentucky’s Success to Advertise to Recruits
Using other teams’ players as part of a graphic to highlight your program and advertise to recruits, is an interesting tactic, to say the least, but that’s exactly what Louisville is doing.
On Wednesday, the official Louisville men’s basketball team tweeted out a graphic calling themselves “dream makers” but instead of showing the six players Louisville has in the NBA, they showed players from Kentucky, Duke, Oregon, and Kansas.
Not to mention, there are several dozen players’ names that are hidden within the text “Dream Makers” which also fails to include a Louisville player.
“Our coaches have been on staffs that produced over 75 NBA players in the last 15 years”, the graphic says. Just because the coaches may have been key pieces of their previous respective staffs, it’s not the best move for optics to take credit and promote the success of other school’s players to recruits or on social media.
Using a similar type of thinking, this would be the equivalent of Adidas creating an advertisement using pictures of a Nike product, or Burger King creating an advertisement using McDonald’s food, it’s misleading.
Off the court, the Kentucky-Louisville rivalry has been steadily improving this offseason, but little brother stays doing little brother things.
Calipari Seemingly Takes a Shot at Past Transfers
In John Calipari’s 13 seasons in Lexington, there have been 16 non-walk-ons to transfer from the program, so just a little over one per season, and with the state of the transfer portal that number will continue to increase.
In a radio interview on Monday, with Mike Pratt and Dan Issel on ESPN 680, Calipari talked about the portal. While he does support it and the freedom it gives players, he did discuss that it will become rarer for players to fight through adversity, and acknowledged it’s not always the best for a player’s future to leave.
Prefacing his comment meaning no disrespect, Calipari said, “I think we have had 7 or 8 players transfer from us, not one has been drafted. Now they’ve gotten more minutes, more highlights, and all that stuff, but none of them have been drafted.”
While incorrect on the number of transfers he has had at Kentucky, Calipari is correct in that not one has been drafted. Take a look.
- Darnell Dodson, Southern Mississippi, Undrafted (Last played in Spain in 2019)
- Stacey Poole, Georgia Tech, Undrafted, No Professional Basketball
- Ryan Harrow, Georgia State, Undrafted (LNB Pro B (France))
- Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga, Undrafted (Liga ACB (Spain))
- Marcus Lee, California, Undrafted (Turkish Basketball First League)
- Charles Matthews, Michigan, Undrafted (G-League)
- Sacha Killeya-Jones, NC State, Undrafted (Israeli Premier League)
- Tai Wynyard, Santa Clara, Undrafted (National Basketball League (Australia))
- *Jemarl Baker, Arizona
- Quade Green, Washington, Undrafted (G-League)
- *Johnny Juzang, UCLA
- *Devin Askew, Texas
- *Cam’Ron Fletcher, Florida State
- *Dontaie Allen, Western Kentucky
- *Bryce Hopkins, Providence
- *Keion Brooks Jr, TBD
*Still in college
It is interesting to see that despite the frustration of the fanbase of losing some of these players, none have been drafted.
On the flipside, Calipari went on to mention players such as Immanuel Quickley, PJ Washington, and Nick Richards as examples that pushed through adversity and eventually excelled a Kentucky and were drafted.
Despite being one of the best recruiters in college basketball history and a hall of fame coach, not every player will or has worked out, that is okay.
2022 Rising Guard Sets Decision Date, UK Looks to Be the Favorite
As the current roster is currently constructed, Kentucky has the returning National Player of the Year, four McDonald’s All-Americans, SEC assist leader/Bob Cousy Finalist, former Big Ten 3-point % leader, a freak athlete at the four, and a 20 ppg All-Missouri Valley wing.
Pretty good roster, huh?
With that said, Kentucky currently only has nine scholarship spots filled, and will almost certainly add one to two more players, with one possibly committing this Sunday. Adou Thiero, a 6’5 combo guard from Pennsylvania in the class of 2022, has set a commitment date for this Sunday fresh off a visit from Lexington.
Thiero will choose between Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Maryland, and Kentucky amongst others. Kentucky is considered to be the favorite and as of now, the only two 247 Sports Crystal Ball predictions are for the Wildcats.
If you perform a quick Google research on Adou Thiero, you will be hard-pressed to find much information on him. For example, if you click this link to his 24/7 Sports recruiting profile, there is little to nothing listed about him.
However, in recent months, Thiero has seen his stock rise astronomically, going from relatively unknown to on the radars of many mid-high major schools.
A major reason for this is as his stock has grown, so has Thiero, physically. In the past year, Thiero has grown 6 inches to 6’5 (6’6 depending on who you ask) and is still growing. Combine that with athleticism, and that is a combo that John Calipari is very interested in.
Not to mention, the basketball genes run strong in Thiero family. His father, Almamy Thiero, played for Calipari in his early days at Memphis and his mother is 6-3 and is a former WNBA draft pick. Giving
What kind of player could Kentucky be getting? As mentioned before, there is not much that you can find on the kid with a google search. However, George Michalowski of Pittsburgh Sports Now, has had the privilege to watch Adou in action, and here is what he had to say.
I have watched Adou three times over the past few weeks. He is 6’5, maybe 6’6. Very strong lower half and getting stronger up top. He has grown 6+ inches in the past year or two and has filled out very well.
He plays a very downhill game. Likes to drive and be as physical as possible. Plays slow and is very smart in the halfcourt, but when he gets out in transition he is not slowing down (sometimes a bit out of control, but rarely). Plays point guard for his HS team. Super acrobatic with his finishes, and gets to the free throw line whenever he wants. He’s got a pretty good jumper, and it’s gotten better each time I have seen him play. He has been playing through a broken growth plate in his hand for the past few weeks so it’s been hard for me to judge. He has plus vision. I’d say the only times that I’ve seen him out of control have been in transition. But he is far and away the best player on his team and has had to carry them at times, so every time he attacks like that, it’s been necessary.
Defensively he is the best shot blocking guard I have seen in quite some time. He is very long and has a knack for the ball. Rebounds at a high rate as well.
Off the court, he’s a super humble, lively guy. He is a kid. He is loving all of this process and is a great leader on the court. He plays alongside an undersized forward Markus Frank who is an excellent scorer, and Adou knows when to give Frank the ball/isn’t afraid to give it up at all. He is an unselfish player but knows when and when not to take over.
He is a super super tough competitor and loves the game.
Don’t expect a one-and-done type player, but Calipari seems to be sold on his potential. Maybe Coach Cal has found a diamond in the rough.