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BB Recruiting

Calling It Like It Is, Kentucky Was Lied To



Darron Cummings/Associated Press

With Shaedon Sharpe announcing on Thursday that he will be entering the NBA Draft while retaining his college eligibility, the Sharpe dilemma looks to have an end in sight.

While technically there is a possibility of a return based on draft eligibility concerns, which you can read about here, for all intents and purposes, it should be assumed that Sharpe is going to the NBA.

Since enrolling early at Kentucky, Sharpe and his camp have repeatedly said that he came early to prepare and would play for Kentucky in the 2022-23 season. With that no longer looking to be the case, it comes off as poor form.


It’s okay to be frustrated, because let’s be honest, we were lied to and I truly believe the coaching staff was as well. Taking Sharpe and his camp’s word at face value came back to haunt them.

I don’t put much blame on Sharpe, but rather on his handlers. If they had been more transparent about the situation, the negative response would not be as bad, but they weren’t and may have even made it worse with one report saying they “affected the narrative and are quite amateur”.

Looking back to his decision to enroll early, let’s take a look at some now questionable comments made by Sharpe, his camp, and even Calipari.

October 25, 2021: “He will not be going to the NBA Draft” – Mentor

Sharpe’s mentor, Dwayne Washington, was interviewed by the Lexington Herald-Leader’s Ben Roberts where he swiftly dismissed any talk of the NBA Draft.


“He will not be going to the NBA Draft. That’s not even something to talk about. That’s like saying, ‘Are you going to go to Mars tomorrow?’”

November 9, 2021: “100%, I will be at Kentucky to play next season” – Sharpe

In coordination with his announcement to enroll in the spring semester, Sharpe was interviewed by Sports Illustrated’s Jason Jordan.

In the interview, Jordan asked Sharpe about the prospect of playing this season, where he answered, “I’ll do whatever the team needs, but 100% I will be at Kentucky to play next season.”

December 31, 2021: “There has never been a plan to play him” – Calipari

Following Kentucky’s win over High Point, Cal was asked about Sharpe with the spring semester starting soon, providing this quote:


“We haven’t talked about (him playing), the family hasn’t talked about it. My guess would be, he’s fine. Let’s get him in shape and go from there. There was never a plan to play him. I left that out there so everybody would panic, but there has never been a plan to play him. But, let’s get him here and work him out, see how things are, and see how our team is.”

January 12, 2022: “You get in early, you’ll be able to see Shaedon work out” – Calipari

With UK’s spring semester starting January 10th, Sharpe was then able to join the team. On January 11th, Sharpe traveled to take on Vanderbilt, where he was throwing down between-the-legs dunks in pre-game warmups.

This was followed by what may have been the worst PR move from the Kentucky side of things, with Calipari telling fans to “come early” to see a glimpse of Sharpe.

“Come early. Come early. Alright, here’s what I’m going to tell you. You get in early, you’ll be able to see Shaedon work out. So if you want to be the first to see Shaedon work out, he’ll be on there doing pregame and you’ll get to see him and say — You’ll be the first one to tell everybody, ‘I saw him.’ But you’ve got to get there early. He’ll be out there 90 minutes prior to tip-off.”


January 14, 2022: “If he’s ready, I say let’s go” – Calipari

John Calipari followed up his previous comments by continuing to hype up a potential debut for Sharpe to play this season. When asked if a there would be a situation where Sharpe would play, Cal answered:

“I don’t know. If he’s not ready to play, I would not put him out there. I would say, come on, this kid just came here. How do you make us, you know? You can’t do that to the kid — unless he’s ready. If he’s ready, I say let’s go. But he practiced yesterday. He’s going to practice today. We’re doing stuff with him.”

January 21, 2022: “He plans on being here next year” – Calipari

On January 20th, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported that Sharpe was able to apply for the 2022 NBA Draft. In response Calipari suggested that didn’t really change things, however, this seemed where the momentum began to change.

“No, it doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t. He plans on being here next year. He’s watching. Whether I play him or not this year, if he’s ready to be in games, I’ll put him in. He’s a great kid, and he’s doing well. And he’s going to make practices even better. He’s only been here two weeks. But, at the end of the day, you know I’m going to be for kids. That’s how I do this.”


January 22, 2022: “If he doesn’t play this year, he’s coming back next year” – Mentor

In an interview with Kentucky Sports Radio, Washington echoed the same sentiment as Calipari in regards to Givony’s report.

“It’s pretty idiotic. Everybody knew that this was an option, but we’re not taking it. He lost millions coming to school. He came to get better. … You come to get ready if you want to go to the NBA, which is one of the goals. You have to be ready. People don’t respect Calipari’s ability to develop enough, that’s why (Shaedon’s) there. He’s not there to sit on the bench and wave at fans. He’s coming back next year. If he doesn’t play this year, he’s coming back next year.”

February 2, 2022: “I feel like it’ll prepare me for when I play next year” – Sharpe

In one of Sharpe’s few media interactions during his time at Kentucky, he spoke to Curtis Burch on the “Behind Kentucky Basketball” podcast. Sharpe went on to talk about how his decision to enroll early. “I feel like it’ll prepare me for when I play next year,” he said.

February 7, 2022: “He is committed to bettering himself… this year and being better prepared to lead us next season” – Calipari

Calipari makes it official that Sharpe would not play this season, and this is in part due to some eligibility concerns regarding the mysterious nature of his graduation date, which have since been talked about.


While the Kentucky compliance was not 100% sure, they did not want there to be the potential for any NCAA violation to affect the outcome of the season.

Calipari also doesn’t put this tweet out, saying “being better prepared to lead us next season,” if Sharpe’s camp is telling him there is a possibility of him leaving.

February 8, 2022: This kid comes back, he’s the No. 1 draft pick

Following the day when it was announced that Sharpe would not be playing for Kentucky this season, Calipari gave his first quote in which he acknowledged that Sharpe could leave for the NBA Draft, saying, ” we don’t know yet.”

“It is what it is. I know everybody will say, ‘Well, he isn’t coming,’ Yeah, well anybody can say anything. This kid comes back, he’s the No. 1 draft pick. In my mind, he’s the No. 1 draft pick. How can I say I know what the No. 1 draft pick looks like? BECAUSE I’VE HAD FOUR. That’s why I can say what it looks like. He can be the No. 1 draft pick.


March 21, 2022: “I hope I get a chance to coach him in real games” – Calipari

During this final radio show of the season, Calipari sounded defeated after losing to Saint Peter’s and came off with a complete lack of confidence that Sharpe would be returning, contrary to what had been said for months at this point.

“I think he’s gotta explore but he’s gotta make a decision on, ‘Alright, do I want this right now? Am I ready for this right now? Is it where I thought it was?’ Because as you go through the process, the information comes back from the NBA, not an agent or anybody else around you, it comes from the NBA…He’s another one. I hope I get a chance to coach him in real games because I enjoy him in practice and I enjoy him as a young person. He’s one of those guys but he’s a super talent though.”

April 12, 2022: “Nothing has been decided” – Mentor

Less than two weeks ago, reports from many college basketball insiders came out that said Sharpe would enter the NBA Draft while maintaining his college eligibility. However, Sharpe’s mentor again insisted that “nothing has been decided”.

Sharpe has until June 1st at 11:59 PM to make his final decision.


BB Recruiting

John Calipari Visits Trio of Top Recruits



UK Athletics

With less than two weeks until Big Blue Madness, the start of the Kentucky basketball season is just around the corner. Ahead of a season with a lot of pressure, John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcat staff were busy on the recruiting trail in New York to start the week.

The day started off with taking a visit to see 2024 combo guard Boogie Fland. This being the fourth in-person visit to Fland over the last three weeks, it is clear that he is a top priority for the Cats and that is reciprocated as Fland listed the Wildcats in his top three last week along with the Alabama Crimson Tide and Indiana Hoosiers. Fland is expected to make a decision in the early signing period, which begins on November 8th.

With that said, coverage of Fland’s recruitment has been well-reported, but while in New York, Calipari paid a visit to two more top recruits, VJ Edgecombe and Alier Maluk who both play for Long Island Lutheran (NY).


VJ Edgecombe

Edgecombe is one of the fastest-rising prospects in the 2024 class. As of March this year, he was ranked outside of the Top 100, fast forward to now and he is a consensus top 10 prospect and considered to be the No. 2 shooting guard in the class. When you see his explosive athleticism, catch-and-shoot ability, and natural basketball instincts it is easy to see why.

Watching closely for a while, the Wildcats extended an offer last month, a month and a half after Edgecombe trimmed his list to ten. While late to the party, Kentucky is not giving up and joins the likes of Alabama, Duke, St. Johns, and G-League Ignite among others in pursuit of the talented guard.

Alier Maluk

Early this summer Alier Maluk was considered a top-25 prospect, but following the grassroots season Maluk dropped in the rankings to just inside the top 50. That said, that isn’t stopping the Wildcats from still showing interest as they have since he was 15 years old, and for good reason, Maluk is one of the most intriguing big men in the class.

At 6-foot-10, 180 pounds, Maluk is a dynamic two-way prospect and can be looked at as a “modern” big man. Well-known for his shot-blocking and rim-running ability, Maluk is also capable of shooting off the catch and the dribble. That said, his handle needs some development as he hopes to continue to develop as a stretch-four. That said, height and skill run in the family as Maluk is the cousin of 7-foot-2 center Bol Bol, who currently plays in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns.


It should be noted that Kentucky has yet to extend an offer to Maluk, who currently holds offers from Florida, Ohio State, and Oregon among others.

Also published on A Sea of Blue.

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BB Recruiting

John Calipari Looking To Close Deal On Five-Star Guard Boogie Fland



John Calipari is looking to close the deal and get a commitment from five-star guard Boogie Fland.
Fland: © Frank Becerra Jr./The Journal News / USA TODAY NETWORK | Calipari: UK Athletics/Chet White

One of the top players in the class, top-ranked guard Boogie Fland has begun taking his visits, and is still taking time with his recruitment, but John Calipari and Kentucky are making a hard push to get the star guard locked up.

Fresh off of a visit to Kentucky a few weeks ago, Fland also had an in-home visit conducted by John Calipari last week after Kentucky watched him at Archbishop Stepinac in New York. On Monday, Calipari and Orlando Antigua paid him another visit. Kentucky is making sure he knows that he is the top priority among guards in the class of 2024.

Along with his visit to Lexington, Fland recently visited Alabama. The two schools are part of Fland’s final three schools along with Indiana as he nears closer to a decision.


Fland is known to be one of the more elite scorers in the class with an ability to score from all three levels, and Kentucky is making him a top priority. Four visits in three weeks show that the staff really likes him and are looking to close the deal.

Take a look at this mic’d up highlight video of the potential future Wildcat to get to know him and his game.

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BB Recruiting

International Prospect Zvonimir Ivisic Now a “Long Shot” to Play at Kentucky



Zvonimir Ivisic playing for SC Derby.
Instagram/Zvonimir Ivisic

When Ivisic originally committed to UK on August 1st, there was plenty of excitement around the program for the 7-foot Croatian to be a key piece on this year’s team.

Ever since then though, it’s only gone downhill as every single day we are hearing less good things about Ivisic’s situation. This is reportedly because of an English equivalency exam, so he still has not been accepted into the university’s admissions.

While the optimism was still he would end up on the team, a lot of the believer’s hopes took a big hit when 247Sports national recruiting analyst Travis Branham had an appearance on KSR’s Sources Say podcast.


Branham had a tough quote saying, “To be honest, I’m not banking on him being on this roster next year. I think it’s a very longshot bet”. Hearing this from a person as connected to recruiting as Branham is very concerning.

He goes on to talk about how it’s not very cut and dry on why he wouldn’t end up at Kentucky calling it a “Hail Mary” that Kentucky would have to connect on to even get the Croatian admitted to Kentucky.

Ivisic is projected as a potential first-rounder in the 2024 NBA draft and averaged 11.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.4 blocks for Croatia at the FIBA U20 European Championships in Greece in July.

The 7-footer’s skills would be a big help to this year’s Kentucky basketball team with the injury of Aaron Bradshaw this offseason, the depth in the frontcourt is much needed for the Wildcats right now.


If they are unable to figure out this situation and get him in a Kentucky jersey this upcoming season, it will be a huge mistake by UK admissions.

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