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Reflecting On Kentucky’s Draft Night

Updated: Jul 11, 2022

Last night, two Kentucky players heard their names called in the 2022 NBA Draft - Shaedon Sharpe and TyTy Washington.

Shaedon Sharpe was picked 7th overall by the Portland Trailblazers. TyTy Washington Jr. was then picked 29th overall by the Memphis Grizzlies, in which, the pick was traded to the Houston Rockets.

After having two more players added to his resume of putting guys in the league, head coach John Calipari had this to say on the two:

“I’m happy for both of our guys getting to hear their names called tonight… Much like some of our other guys like Keldon (Johnson), Tyrese (Maxey) and Immanuel (Quickley) – TyTy is going to make a lot of teams regret passing on him. His basketball IQ is advanced for a player of his age, and he has a bright future ahead of him. Shaedon is going to a great situation in Portland which will allow him to develop and take his game to where we all know it can go. I had hoped Kellan (Grady) and Davion (Mintz) would get a chance to be drafted, but I know they’re going to have an opportunity in this league.”

While Shaedon Sharpe secured himself a top-ten selection, it was apparent that TyTy fell way later into the round than many expected. “I mean, every player wants to be a top pick, high pick and stuff like that,” Washington said. “It only takes one team to believe in you, and you can go out there and shock the world. That's kind of my mindset on it. I always bet on myself, so I'm just going to go out there with a chip on my shoulder and remember all the teams that skipped me.”

With TyTy being drafted by Memphis, this marks the second straight draft that a UK player has been taken by Memphis but then had his draft rights traded.

For Shaedon, he is just the third player in UK program history to be selected by Portland and the first since Sam Bowie in 1984. “I’m really excited to get started,” Sharpe said. “From a young age, I’ve always dreamed of playing in the NBA. I mean, my dream came true. I’m really excited and I just can’t wait to get to Portland and get started.”

A few NBA Draft stats per UK Athletics:

  • In 13 seasons with Calipari at the helm, Kentucky has churned out three No. 1 selections, 34 first-rounders, 22 lottery picks and 45 total players in the NBA Draft. The 45 draft picks are 12 more than the next closest school (Duke).

  • With both players earning selection in the opening round, UK has now had at least one player taken in the first round in each of the last 13 drafts under Calipari. That’s the longest streak in the modern draft era (since 1966).

  • The Wildcats have had more top-10 picks, more lottery selections and more first-round picks in the Calipari era than any other team in the country.

  • UK has had multiple first-round selections in all but one draft during Calipari’s tenure.

  • Kentucky has had 136 players drafted 138 times in its illustrious history with 59 players selected in the opening round.

  • Calipari is the only coach to have multiple players selected in 15 consecutive NBA Drafts, dating back to his time at Memphis.

  • Of the 32 players at UK in the Calipari era who have declared for the NBA Draft after their freshman seasons, 29 have been first-round draft picks after both Sharpe’s and Washington’s selection (does not include the late Terrence Clarke). All previous players (not including Sharpe and Washington) have played in an NBA game.

Kellan Grady and Davion Mintz both went undrafted, as expected. Per Chris Fisher of 247 Sports, Mintz “has signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Wizards, which is a 1-year, minimum salary deal that doesn't count against the team's salary cap unless that player makes the regular season roster.” Grady is still expected to have an opportunity to sign a free-agent deal within the coming weeks.


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