Shaedon Sharpe hits NBA lottery, but Kentucky basketball fans don’t claim him

NBA commissioner Adam Silver (L) and Shaedon Sharpe (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NBA commissioner Adam Silver (L) and Shaedon Sharpe (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Shaedon Sharpe hit the NBA Lottery at lucky number 7 when he was selected by the Portland Trailblazers, but by referencing being a Kentucky basketball player he has angered Big Blue Nation who feels Sharpe rolled craps on the Bluegrass.

The saga for all intents and purposes has come to a close for the highly touted player, who suited up at UK, ran drills, and was listed on the roster, yet he chose to not step foot on the Rupp Arena floor in any actual game.

The 6-foot-5 guard keeps Kentucky’s basketball streak of having a player called in the first round of the draft for the 12th straight year, the longest in the NBA draft era. With Portland drafting him he technically is the third Wildcat to be selected by the Trailblazers with Larry Steele (1971) and Sam Bowie (1984).

Shaedon Sharpe leaves only bitter taste and no legacy with Kentucky fans

Bowie played three seasons at Kentucky logging 2,761 minutes of playing time, scoring 1,285 points, and pulling down 843 rebounds. He was the third player selected in the 1984 draft behind Hakeem Olajuwon and just ahead of Michael Jordan.

Steele also played three years at UK playing 2,295 minutes, tallying 781 points and 499 rebounds from 1968-1971.

Portland knew both times what kind of player they were getting. With Sharpe no one really knows because no one has seen him play in two years. Talk about gambling with long odds, but then that is what the NBA is built upon potential.

Of course, what have the Trailblazers have to lose after going 27-55 this past season, including losing their final 11 games of the regular season including 2-21 down the stretch.

Sharpe committed to Kentucky back in September and the excitement over him was electric when he actually signed on with UK in November. He decided to enroll early and began practicing with the team in January but never played a minute of the 2021-22 season.

Will he or wouldn’t he play had Kentucky fans boiling all season. Was he toying with us just trying to up his NBA stock with the help of coach John Calipari while scoffing at the Kentucky history by electing to never play?

A foregone conclusion he would never see the Kentucky court he tested the NBA waters by throwing his name in the draft without hiring an agent, but later decided to forgo his college eligibility and officially declare his intention to move on to the NBA.

His ego and aspirations of being one of the greatest NBA players also meant stepping on the proud Kentucky basketball traditions as evidenced by his remarks to the Indianapolis Star following a workout for the Indiana Pacers last week.

"“I see myself being one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball. Just playing at the highest level, just really getting after it and competing. One of my goals coming in as a rookie is just win Rookie of the Year. … And then also (become an) All-Star and, later on, Hall of Fame.”"

When asked if he regretted not playing a minute for Kentucky he said it was ultimately his decision.

"“Like I said before, everything happens for a reason, so I really don’t regret (not) playing. I’m working out for NBA teams now, so I guess I did something right."

While Kentucky fans are thrilled when of our own makes that big leap to the next level after leaving their mark in Kentucky lore, even if it is for just one season as the case has been since the one-and-done era the same can’t be said for Sharpe.

When TyTy Washington and Sahvir Wheeler were banged up and Kellan Grady was hobbling through the pain of plantar fasciitis we didn’t know about Sharpe sat glued to the bench unwilling to be a teammate and achieve their collective dream of playing for a national championship.

Thus Big Blue Nation all over social media on Thursday night failed to claim Sharpe as one of their own putting one of the most bizarre, frustrating, and infuriating dramas to bed.

So Portland fans he is all yours now. Hope the gamble you risked picking him pays off but for us in the Bluegrass, we bid you ado.

We look forward to 2022-23 with the Bahamas trip just around the corner in August to get us excited about what’s to come and what’s behind us.