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‘This may never happen again’: London, Ont. basketball star is top 2022 NCAA recruit


London, Ont. –

When Shaedon Sharpe closes his eyes and fantasizes, he’s going one-on-one with the world’s elite basketball stars.

“Just playing amongst the best out there, the LeBron James, (James) Harden, Kevin Durant,” said Sharpe, 18, from London, Ont.

His dreams could become reality in as soon as one year. Sharpe announced he’ll be attending the University of Kentucky next year.

He’s Kentucky’s first top-five commitment since Bam Adebayo in 2016, and the first No. 1 prospect John Calipari has recruited since Nerlens Noel in 2012.

In the past 12 years, Wildcats Head Coach John Calipari has produced 43 draft picks including 32 first rounders and 21 lottery picks.

“It’s always been a dream playing college basketball, so why not Kentucky? Because I feel like they’re the best out there,” said Sharpe, who is working out in London right now. “They had a lot of guards coming in and then making it to the NBA.”Sharpe played at H.B Beal SS in Grade 9, leading the Raiders to OFSAA. He then went south to Kansas and Arizona to play prep basketball.

In the past year, the 6’5” shooting guard went from unknown prospect, to the number one recruit in the world.

“This may never happen again,” said Dwayne Washington, founder and CEO of UPLAY Canada, and Sharpe’s coach in AAU basketball. “It’s like getting struck by lightning twice in the same spot.”

Washington admits, he is even surprised that Sharpe has become the consensus number one player. However he knows how hard Sharpe has worked to achieve success.

“I keep getting calls and interview requests to try to figure out how did this happen so quickly?” said Washington.

“When COVID happened and he was able to stay home and train with myself, coach Dave (Sewell) in London and really just focus on his game, his understanding of the game began to grow, and then when he got on the court he had peaked at that time.”

Washington has coached other Canadian stars like RJ Barrett, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Priamo and thinks Sharpe is next in line.

He wants to be a one-and-done college player and enter the NBA draft after his freshman year.

“I bring an energy to the court, and try to impact the game by getting by teammates involved,” said Sharpe. “I think my game is well-rounded, by playing hard on defence and attacking.”shaedon sharpe 1 5657379 1636412613116(Source: UPLAY Canada)Washington believes his skills translate to not only the college game, but professionally.

“He can shoot off the dribble, attack the basket, he’s very athletic and he can shoot,” said Washington. “He also has a high IQ and is an excellent passer which are all the traits that are used at the next level. This is why it’s likely that he will be entering into the professional ranks sooner than later.”

Sharpe will make is commitment to Kentucky official on Wednesday when he signs his letter of intent at H.B Beal S.S at 6 p.m.

“I’m excited knowing that I’m going to the next level taking the next step in my chapter,” said Sharpe. “It’s kind of unreal being number one, but still job’s not done.”

While he’s dreaming, he’ll dream big.

“Being a Hall of Famer in the NBA and just playing amongst the best,” Sharpe responded when asked how he envisions his future.

Washington says going to Kentucky will take Sharpe’s game to the next level because of the quality of coaching and his elite teammates.

“I think he’s going to be one of the best to come out of Canada,” said Washington. “He will definitely represent London very well.”

That journey begins Wednesday when eyes from around the world will be watching him put pen to paper and commit to becoming a Wildcat.