Player Breakdown: Shaedon Sharpe
As much of the Big Blue Nation now knows, Kentucky has added consensus 5 star recruit, and arguably the #1 overall recruit in the class of 2022, Shaedon Sharpe. Shaedon is ranked 1st in his class by ON3, Rivals, and ESPN, as well as 4th in the 247Sports' composite rankings (which needs to get updated). In the EYBL circuit, Shaedon Sharpe averaged 22.7 points and 2.7 assists per game on solid shooting splits of 47.9% from the field and 36.4% from 3. These rankings and stats are great and all, but what exactly can Kentucky fans expect from their newest commitment?
To begin with, Shaedon Sharpe is the most gifted scorer in his class. His ability to score from all 3 levels - around the hoop, mid range, and deep behind the 3 point line - stands out the most to me. An immediately obvious player comparison to me is UK legend Malik Monk, due to both of their athleticism and shot making abilities from all over the court. As we very well remember, Malik was amazing during his time in Lexington, as he lead our team to the Elite Eight while picking up All-American and SEC Player of the Year honors. While Malik's jump shot off of the catch was a little better at this stage, Shaedon is more advanced with his ability to score off of the dribble, as well as create for others.
These playmaking abilities brings out a player comparison of another UK legend, Jamal Murray. Jamal was also a high achiever during his time in Lexington, as he is averaged more points per game (20.0) than any other player in the Calipari era. While Jamal has starred as a point guard in the NBA, he played the off guard next to Tyler Ulis in his lone season at Kentucky. This off ball role is expected to also be the role of Shaedon, despite his playmaking abilities on the ball. However, we have seen countless ball handlers play the shooting guard under Cal and succeed in both college and the NBA, such as previously mentioned Jamal Murray, along with Tyrese Maxey, Immanuel Quickley, Eric Bledsoe, and Devin Booker. It is also worth noting that Shaedon and Jamal were both Canadian recruits and were brought up learning similar styles of play.
Once he gets to the NBA level, I see Shaedon developing more into former Kentucky rivals Donovan Mitchell from Louisville or Bradley Beal from Florida. Both of these guards are all star level players, elite scorers on all levels, and have the versatility to be primary ball handlers or score off of the wing.
What makes Shaedon's player comparison so difficult is that a lot of our past great freshman, such as Anthony Davis, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, all have very different styles of play than Shaedon. However, while I do not think anyone will ever be as good as Anthony Davis in the collegiate level again, I can see Shaedon comparing to those other names in terms of the impact he will bring to next year's team. Only time will tell if Shaedon will live up to these comparisons and become the next Kentucky basketball legend.