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Shaedon Sharpe, the top-ranked high school basketball player in the country, is enrolling early at the University of Kentucky and redshirting for the second semester.
“I’m going to enroll in January,” Sharpe said in an interview with Sports Illustrated. “I’m going to report down there after Christmas. I’m going to redshirt. I just want to get a head start on college basketball and train with older, bigger, stronger and better players.”
Sharpe’s jump to the college ranks earlier than expected was rumored in October and does not come as much of a surprise with more prospects leaving high school early than ever before. Jalen Duren and Emoni Bates, the original top-two recruits in the class of 2022, reclassified to the class of 2021 during the summer to play at Memphis this season.
“I never cared about being No. 1 or anything like that,” Sharpe said. “I just worked hard and that came, but my goals have always been about the NBA and being the best player that I can be at that level. That’s it.”
Sharpe’s enrollment for the spring semester is not a first for Kentucky, either. Hamidou Diallo committed to Kentucky in Jan. 2017, enrolled later that month and redshirted for the rest of the season. He entered his name into the NBA draft and ultimately never played a game for John Calipari.
Sharpe, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Glendale (Ariz.) Dream City Christian has been compared to Zach LaVine and will have a chance to make an instant impact when he takes the court at the next level.
“A product of Canada, Sharpe is an explosive athlete with a nose for the rim,” 247Sports’ Eric Bossi said. “He loves to catch, face and is tough to stop because of an electric first step and his ability to get downhill, into the lane and then finish around the rim. Over the last year, Sharpe has improved tremendously as a ball-handler, pull-up jump shooter and shot maker from beyond the three-point line.
“The improved ball-handling has allowed him to be much more creative as a scorer and playmaker for others. Sharpe has long arms, moves well laterally and has all of the tools to develop into a player who is just as disruptive on the defensive end of the floor as he is on offense.”