Kentucky basketball players among the brightest talents in the NBA draft

Kentucky fans didn’t get a chance to see Shaedon Sharpe on the pitch this season, as he signed up but ultimately missed the season. And although Sharpe didn’t show his abilities on a college court before choosing to enter the NBA draft, he remains one of the players with the highest potential in the draft pool.

How could Sharpe be? CBS Sports writer Matt Norlander, in a mock draft that used predictions about each player’s career path, picked Sharpe third ahead of Thursday’s draft.

“We all have to recognize something about this year’s top draft,” Norlander wrote. “The (Paolo) Banchero-(Jabari) Smith-(Chet) Holmgren 1-2-3 is probably how the draft will go, in some order, on Thursday night. That said, the chances of these three players (this which is to say: three great) to turn out to be the top three players in this draft is small. They each deserve to be where they are projected, but merit has nothing to do with how it will play out in years to come. At least one player out of the top three is going to get past at least one of those guys and end up being better. So that’s my arrow in the dark. Sharpe hasn’t played competitive basketball since almost a year. It’s a total gamble. There’s a lot out there, though. Shooting, athleticism, explosiveness, masses of potential. Some think he’d be in conversation #1 if he’d played at Kentucky. He didn’t. Maybe it takes a year or three. But maybe look at us in 10 years and he’s an All-Star. Let’s take a big swing.

Sharpe sat behind Banchero and Smith and just ahead of Arizona Benoit Mathurin and Holmgren.

Sharpe was the highest-ranked player in the 2022 247Sports Composite before reclassifying, ranking No. 3 overall in the 2021 class. He was one of two Kentucky players projected by Norlander as first-round worthy players , with goalkeeper Wildcat Ty Ty Washington entering at No. 19.

“Wonderful mid-range shooting touch,” wrote Norlander. “Washington’s ability to get in the lane and use pick-and-roll patterns is what’s going to get him safely drafted in the first round. He’s a little undersized, and I don’t know if he may be a starter for more years than not, but I like his chances of being a good secondary option at that point for years to come.”

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The No. 4 point guard and No. 15 player overall for the 247Sports Composite, Washington struggled with injuries in his freshman season at Kentucky but still averaged 12.5 points and 3.9 assists per game, while shooting 35% from behind the 3-point arc.

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