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.