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‘He is super gifted’: Damian Lillard offers praise for Shaedon Sharpe

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Damian Lillard has spent some time with rookie Shaedon Sharpe since the Portland Trail Blazers drafted him seventh last month, and the six-time All-Star has been impressed in that small sample size.

Sharpe was the top high school recruit before reclassifying to enroll at Kentucky early. He ultimately never suited up for the Wildcats but was still viewed as a lottery pick given his potential and overall skill set, despite not playing.

Since joining the Trail Blazers, Sharpe has had the opportunity to get into the gym some with Lillard and the rest of his new teammates. Lillard, speaking in an interview with ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth on Thursday, liked what he has seen so far from Sharpe.

He has been there (in Portland) since a little bit after the draft. We played some 1s from certain spots. He jumped in and played with us. He is super talented, super gifted but you just gotta get out there and play. You gotta see it in live-action and put him in the mix.

When you’re picked that high, you gotta just have that pride about going out there and showing people why and living up to being that high of a pick. I think everybody that has been picked in that top 10, they go out there and say, ‘I’m a top-10 pick and I need to show these people.’ We’re looking forward to him coming out and showing why.

The long-awaited debut of Sharpe was cut a bit short on Thursday.

He suffered a left shoulder injury in the first quarter against the Detroit Pistons and would not return after just five minutes of action. The team opted to hold him out due to precautionary reasons as it determines the next course of action with the injury.

He finished with just two points.

“I think he just hit it on the floor. I didn’t see it exactly,” Trail Blazers assistant head coach Steve Hetzel said after the game. “Walking off the court at halftime, he said he felt good, but we want to be cautious with all our players so we’re going to do our due diligence and figure it out.”

The team will certainly be cautious with Sharpe as he represents a key addition to the roster. He has impressed in a limited time with the organization and they will be hopeful the injury isn’t serious and he can return to the court soon.

Portland plays next on Saturday at 10 p.m. EDT.

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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