Canada’s Shaedon Sharpe is the NBA Draft’s biggest enigma
Canadian Shaedon Sharpe enters the NBA draft this year with a unique combination of hype and mystery surrounding his name.
The London, Ont., native — who was ranked the No. 1 high school recruit for the Class of 2022 on numerous boards, including ESPN’s — upgraded and enrolled at the University of Kentucky last winter, but ultimately chose not to play for the Wildcats.
Although he has never played at the college level, the 19-year-old is expected to be a top-10 pick in the NBA Draft this year. The Sacramento Kings, Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder and Detroit Pistons, to name a few, are all viable options for the 6ft 6in guard who has a wingspan of 7ft and an upright of 45. inches.
Ask any scout why he’s so high on Sharpe, and they’ll all tell you the same thing: he’s tailor-made for today’s NBA.
“Some of the guys who have been No. 1 in the past, their game hasn’t necessarily translated to the NBA. Everything about Sharpe translates. I mean, that’s what the NBA is looking for. Everyone is looking for that 6-foot-6 shooter who can score anywhere from the ground. I don’t see a lot of teams letting that go,” says Jonathan Givony, NBA draft analyst at ESPN.
“I’m focused on the laser when I play ball. I only focus on the task at hand, which is making buckets. »
If Sharpe is drafted into the top 10, he will become the first Canadian to do so without playing a single college basketball game.
Some may call it luck, but there is no such word in Sharpe’s vocabulary. It’s all about hard work and perseverance. Not to mention having a strong work ethic, supportive family dynamics and mentor Dwayne Washington, Founder and CEO of the AAU UPLAY Canada elite program, by his side.
“He corresponds to a prototype of star players. He has an explosive ability to shoot the dribble. He’s unique because he almost comes as a complete player, which is unusual. When you add natural, athletic ability, he has the frame of past superstars who have played at the highest level,” Washington says.
Sharpe’s presence on the court has shades of Kentucky alumni Devin Booker and Russell Westbrook. He is also often compared to Bradley Beal for his performances as a winger.
“These guys are all very athletic and have similar makeup physically. Bradley Beal, in his case, has a lot of great skills, creates separations with a strong body,” Washington said.
When you see Sharpe on the field, he’s a silent assassin, ready to attack at a moment’s notice. “I’m focused on the laser when I play ball. I just focus on the task at hand, which is making buckets,” says Sharpe.
Sharpe has a calm demeanor off the pitch and is in many ways your typical teenager. When he’s not playing basketball, he’s playing video games or catching up vampire diary reruns. “I know it’s girly, but I’m in the first season, and I’m halfway there,” he laughs. “But it’s pretty good so far.”
Depending on his schedule in December, he hopes to catch the sequel to one of his favorite movies: critically acclaimed James Cameron. Avatar. “Oh my God… [Laughs.] I can’t wait for the next sequel. I’ve seen the previews and can’t wait to see the movie.
Sharpe was born in London, east of Toronto. His parents, Julia and Robert, have long been supportive of his hoop dreams. He is the middle child in his family, with an older sister and a younger brother.
His basketball journey hasn’t always been linear. The first sport he liked to practice was football. He played for the London Junior Mustangs Football Club, basketball was just a way for him to condition himself. “I really loved playing football. I really took a long time to become a football player and thought I would go to the NFL,” says Sharpe.
“I do my best to lead by example and be a leader for these young people.”
His football dreams came to an end when he broke his right shin before entering high school. “I was running on the field, and the guy came to my right, and I didn’t see him. Dude got my leg, and that’s how my football career ended.
Sharpe’s football injury was a silver lining. As he entered high school, he had to choose a sport, and basketball was his choice.
His work ethic, whether on the pitch or on the court, hasn’t changed. Dave Sewell, who coached Sharpe at HB Beal Secondary School in London, had the opportunity to work with the prospect throughout COVID. He noticed Sharpe’s athleticism right away, but his work ethic and constant need to improve stood out.
“He’s a gym rat, I would call him. He’s a kid who’s still working. When he’s home, we always work out together, and we’re at the gym every night and we work late. He loves to work and he is very driven. He’s still working,” Sewell says.
During his junior year of high school, Sharpe played basketball for HB Beal. He led his team to an OFSAA AAA title. In his sophomore year, he transferred to Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Aire, Kansas. There was little traction with Sharpe’s performance while attending Sunrise Christian Academy.
He transferred to Dream City Christian School in Glendale, Arizona, where he played a prominent role on the team. His basketball coach there, Kyle Weaver, only saw clips of Sharpe playing before his transfer, but he knew Sharpe was different.
“I saw a few clips of him diving into games, and that was about it. But when I saw a few highlights, I was like, this kid got it. He has a legitimate chance to ‘be good. Dwayne praised him,’ Weaver says.
Sharpe’s performance at Nike EYBL with his AUU UPLAY Canada team made him a person of interest, averaging 21.6 points per game and shooting nearly 50% from the three-point line. At the start of his senior year, he was ranked No. 1 by ESPN, 247 Sports and Rivals.
However, even before his reclassification, Sharpe was the No. 1 prospect in his high school class. “He deserved this. I agree that he was the best prospect in the class. It’s not a big leap to go from the No. 1 player in the class. You are in all likelihood among the top five choices. That’s what the story says, and 90% of that time that’s what happens,” says Givony.
Becoming a No. 1 prospect led Sharpe to multiple NIL partnerships and deals. Porsche Louisville gave the young man new wheels. He has signed two NIL deals with SoleSavy and Culture Kings, both of which suit Sharpe. He loves fashion and sneakers.
“The Jordan 5 Off-Whites are my favorite [currently]. But the Jordan 1 hi-tops are my all-time favorite,” Sharpe says.
Rankings, NIL offers, interviews and everything that comes with being a top prospect haven’t shaken Sharpe’s mindset. He wants to play basketball. He hopes this trip will inspire young children to pursue their dreams. Elijah Fisher, who’s committed to Texas Tech and is also ranked among Canada’s top high school prospects, cites Sharpe as an inspiration.
“I feel good that the younger generation look up to me and want to follow in my footsteps,” Sharpe says. “I do my best to set an example and be a leader for these young kids. It’s great to know they’re watching me.”