Updated: Feb 17, 2022
Friday afternoon Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari announced that mid-year enrollee, Shaedon Sharpe, would not be playing for Kentucky this season.
"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. He is committed to bettering himself and our team in practice this year and being better prepared to lead us next season,” said Calipari.
During his first meeting with the media after Kentucky's win in Columbia, he was asked why the decision came at this moment. His response was that he spoke to Shaedon and his family to confirm his plans at Kentucky, because "we've got to make sure this doesn't become a story - because it doesn't need to be."
Says Shaedon's family recirculated that he had came to Kentucky to "practice, sit out, and get ready for the following year." Calipari says if that's changed, then "let's talk about it" but if it hadn't changed, he wanted to go ahead and make the announcement.
John understands there are doubters and people who don't believe Shaedon will return this summer but he seems to push that narrative to the side. "This kid comes back, he's the number one draft pick. In my mind, the number one draft pick." He continues with, "How can I say 'I know what the number one draft pick looks like?' Because I've had four! That's why I can say what it looks like."
He then rhetorically asks if Shaedon would be ready to go pro now, says, "someone would take him, but playing in the NBA is a man's league. Going through the gauntlet of Kentucky gets you ready to succeed."
"His family knows it, he knows it. He said the attention to detail here he has never seen anything like it."
In nearly every offseason John Calipari will require his players to test the NBA Draft waters to receive feedback, even if they know they're coming back, or are undecided. He says he has not spoken to Shaedon and his family about that, but "I don't see any reason not to."
It seems relatively clear that he wants this situation to calm down and for everyone to focus on his team that's playing right now. Hell, they're less than 12 months removed from the worst team in Kentucky history and now they're sitting at 20-4 and ranked No. 5 in the country. Can you blame him?
As of now, whether you believe them or not, the coaching staff is insisting that they believe Shaedon Sharpe will be in Lexington next season. Until anything else that points otherwise, we need to believe them. It’s very unlikely anything else will come of this til the season ends, but see it this way: It’s not like this team needs him to play this year? So why lose sleep over worrying what’s going to happen when there is nothing you can do about it. Instead, watch this team make a serious run into this postseason. The rest will work itself out.