Evaluating Shaedon Sharpe in a High School Basketball Game

March 29th, 2022

By Alan Lu

With the NBA draft still months away, I decided to take the time to watch Kentucky’s 6-6 freshman swingman, Shaedon Sharpe play in a full basketball game.  He enrolled early after playing high school basketball this season, but he didn’t end up getting into a college basketball game.  Still, his draft stock remains very high, as he’s widely regarded as a prospect that could go in the lottery if he decides to enter the 2022 NBA Draft. 

Since Sharpe didn’t play in a college basketball game this year, I decided to watch him play for Dream City Christian in an October 15th game against Vertical Academy, with thanks to YouTube via SportsCenter Next.  Sharpe is a tremendously athletic swingman that can make high-motor plays and many highlight reel-worthy plays on both ends of the floor, but I also wanted to get a better feel for his overall game and skill set.   

It also presented as an opportunity to watch some of the other high-end prospects that will be eligible for the 2023 draft, such as Vertical Academy’s Mikey Williams, and Dream City Christian’s Yohan Troare.  Here are my thoughts on how Shaedon Sharpe fared, as well as how his game may stack up as a prospect for the NBA.

Kentucky’s freshman swingman, Shaedon Sharpe started the season playing high school basketball at Dream City Christian, and he is currently regarded as a possible lottery pick if he declares to enter the 2022 NBA Draft.
(Photo:
Dream City Christian Basketball, via AZ Central)

Shaedon Sharpe had a very good showing in his team’s double-digit win over Vertical Academy.  He thrived as a scorer from all over the floor, and he made a big impact to help his team on both ends of the floor. As expected, Sharpe thrived as a scorer on hustle plays.  He especially showed a knack for scoring on backdoor cuts, as he would throw down thunderous dunks, and he also caught a lob to score on a ferocious, alley-oop dunk midway through the match.  He also would score on smooth, acrobatic layups around the basket.  He also would run the floor to score on powerful breakaway dunks, and he also dribbled in to score on a put back while getting an extra free throw another time.

He also showed a much-improved ability to knock down outside shots.  He especially shot the three-ball well in the second half, and it’ll be important to see if he can make this a permanent addition to his arsenal.  Sharpe was able to knock down a couple of open, corner threes off the catch, and Sharpe has shown that he can make three-pointers when given the time and space to shoot the basketball.  He also used a swift, behind-the-back dribble move and pulled up to make a three off the dribble another time.  Sharpe struggled to get all the way to the hoop on half-court drives however, and he didn’t look to score as much on half-court sets.  On one play, he used a jab step and dribbled left, but pulled up and missed a long two badly.

Also, Sharpe showed off decent playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that can make passes off the dribble, and he was able to make a drop-off pass to set up a score for a teammate on the break.  He also can throw crisp, accurate interior passes to find his teammates on the move, and Sharpe possesses solid court vision.  On the downside, sometimes he will force the issue too much, which would lead him to commit ball-handling turnovers.  When handling the ball off of a defensive rebound once, the ball ended up being stolen away from him in the backcourt.  He came down with a defensive rebound late in this match, but fell down and lost his balance, and was called for a traveling violation.

Also, Sharpe showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball.  He has a keen nose for the basketball, and he would chase down balls to get boards on both ends of the floor, and he also managed to push the ball up the court off of a defensive rebound once.

Plus, he also played satisfactory defense.  Sharpe is a very athletic, rangy defender that can get numerous steals and blocks for his team.  He managed to intercept a pass to get a steal, and he also stole a ball away from an opposing driver in transition to get another.  He also would hustle back and swoop in to make high-flying, chase down blocks to prevent opponents from scoring on the break.  He also would tend to contest threes to force misses, and he also deflected a pass another time.  On the downside, he didn’t always move his feet well when defending opponents off the dribble, which would sometimes lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  Other times, he would sag a bit too far off of shooters, and allow opponents to score on three-point shots.

Overall, Shaedon Sharpe is a very athletic, energetic swingman that may have a great deal of upside, but the debate is how ready he would be for the NBA right now.  While he shot the ball well from the outside in this game, his three-point percentages haven’t looked as good historically, and he will also need to be able to adjust to the longer three-point line at higher levels.  He’s scrimmaged at Kentucky, but he still hasn’t gotten into a college basketball game yet, so he’s untested at higher levels.

Still, he is a vastly athletic player that will provide excitement, and he will make highlight reel-worthy plays when he’s on the floor.  He will need to be a more consistent shooter and prove that he can be a lockdown defender in games, but Sharpe definitely has the athletic tools to be a lottery pick.  Whether if he stays at Kentucky or leaves to enter the 2022 draft is up to him.  He’ll need to continue to work hard and hone his game, but if he reaches his full potential, he could end up being a good NBA player in the league.

Vertical Academy’s 6-3 high school senior point guard, Mikey Williams is a highly touted prospect that could be a likely lottery pick in the 2023 draft.  He made some really nice, head turning plays in this game, but he didn’t have a great game overall, and he ultimately struggled with his outside shot and with turnovers.  Still, Williams is a very athletic point guard that was able to make some truly jaw-dropping plays when he was on the floor.

Williams did a very good job of scoring on aggressive drives to the hoop.  He tended to favor going to his left, but he can finish plays using either hand.  He managed to score on an acrobatic, reverse layup in traffic while drawing an extra free throw.  He also drove to his left and really accelerated to throw down a thunderous dunk.  Williams showed a knack for scoring on tough, acrobatic layups at the rim due to possessing good athleticism, body control, and finishing ability, and he also showed a knack for drawing fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line.

He also generally thrived at scoring on hustle plays.  Williams managed to drive to his left to score on a spinning, 360 layup in transition while getting fouled.  He also scored on an emphatic, two-handed dunk off of a backdoor cut.

Also, Williams was able to knock down a pair of threes.  He moved off the ball to make a quick, spot-up three.  He also was able to knock down a smooth, step-back three.  Plus, he also used a spin move and found a way to get fouled to draw three free throws on a step-back three.  He also scored on a mid-range runner when going to his right another time.  On the downside, Williams tended to miss on threes and mid-range jumpers, and he would take contested, off-balanced shots that would lead to misses.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game.  Williams can make an assortment of passes off the dribble due to possessing good court vision.  He can make speedy drive and kick passes, he can find teammates on the move, and he also can find open teammates on the break.  However, he also would tend to over-dribble, which would lead him to get it stolen away or lose the ball when heavily pressured.  Another time, he was called for a carrying violation, as he can be sloppy with his ball handling.  He also would sometimes throw hasty passes that would go astray at times.

While he didn’t seem to grab many rebounds in this game, Williams was able to chase down a pair of defensive boards, and he would tend to push the pace afterwards.  He also played good defense in this game.  Williams rotated to steal a ball away from an opponent on a drive, and he also often would contest threes to force misses.  He would really pressure opposing ball handlers and get hands up in passing lanes to force additional turnovers.  Sometimes though, he would be caught ball watching, and he would sometimes give up too much space to shooters, which would lead him to give up baskets.

Overall, Mikey Williams didn’t have his best game, but he is a very athletic point guard that can score and make plays on both ends of the floor.  He’ll need to improve his outside shot, but his ability to make plays with the ball in his hands combined with his athleticism and upside may make him a solid bet to go in the lottery in the 2023 draft.

Dream City Christian’s center, Yohan Traore had a strong game to help lead his team to a win over Vertical Academy.  He especially thrived as a scorer in the paint, and he is an athletic big man that can handle the basketball.

Traore did a good job of scoring in the post.  He would get deep position down low, and he would tend to score on powerful dunks.  He also generally excelled at scoring on off-ball motion plays.  He would run the floor to score on powerful jams on the break, and he also caught a lob to score on an alley-oop dunk once.  He has good hands that enable him to catch tough passes in transition.  Sometimes though, he would rush his shots that would lead to misses.

Also, Traore did a good job of scoring off the dribble.  He was able to get a long offensive rebound, and he made a rip move to his left and drove the baseline to score on a crafty, switch of hands layup while getting an extra free throw.  He also showed a knack for drawing fouls upon his defenders to get to the foul line.  Also, he was able to make an open mid-range jumper to show his shooting skills, but he also missed on a pair of open threes from beyond the arc.

As a playmaker, he looked to be fairly average.  Traore is a skilled big man that can pass and handle the basketball.  After chasing down a ball that was a little too far out in front of him, he saved the ball by throwing it back to his teammate to help his team score in transition.  He also can throw crisp, long passes to find open teammates.  On the downside, he can sometimes throw hasty passes that can go astray.

He also showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball.  Traore was able to get boards on both ends of the floor, and he also showed some handles by dribbling off of a defensive board early on in this game. 

He also played decent defense in this game.  Traore was able to rotate to block a shot on a drive to a teammate due to possessing good length, mobility, and timing.  He also managed to contest a three to force a miss.  Sometimes though, he would be too aggressive in trying to make plays, which would lead him to commit fouls.

Overall, Traore is an athletic, skilled big man that could be a sleeper prospect for the 2023 draft.  He is a very good scorer in the paint, and he’s shown a budding face-up game and improved perimeter skills.  He’ll need to keep playing well next year, and he could be a potential first round pick next year.

Oklahoma-bound point guard, Milos Uzan had a solid showing to help lead Dream City Christian to a win over Vertical Academy. Though he didn’t shoot the ball very well, he thrived as a facilitator, rebounder, and defender, and he was a triple-double threat that consistently racked up assists and rebounds to help get his team the victory.

Uzan showed a solid ability to score off the dribble.  Though he didn’t look to go all the way to the hoop often, he has a good first step, and he was able to score on a crafty layup off the glass.  He also can draw fouls upon his defenders on aggressive moves to the basket.

He also did a good job of knocking down mid-range jumpers.  He would tend to favor going to his left, and he showed that he can score on mid-range jumpers off the dribble.  On the downside, Uzan would often miss on pull-up threes, and he was unable to make any of his threes in this game.

Also, Uzan showed off good playmaking skills in this game.  He is an unselfish player that operates as a cerebral, pass-first point guard.  He can make pinpoint passes to find his teammates on the move, and he can make a variety of passes to rack up assists.  He is a good passer off the dribble, and he also was able to make a behind-the-back pass to find a teammate ahead on the break to set up a score for him.  He has very good court vision, and he sees the floor very well.  On the downside, sometimes he would tend to over-dribble, which would lead him to commit ball-handling turnovers, as he would sometimes struggle to handle the ball when pressured.

Plus, Uzan did a tremendous job of rebounding the basketball.  He would often chase down balls to get defensive boards, and he would often push the ball quickly up the floor afterwards.  He also played satisfactory defense in this game.  He would run in to intercept passes to get steals.  He also would often contest shots both out on the perimeter and in the paint to force misses.  He also hounded an opposing ball handler in the corner, and he used the corner as an extra defender to help force a ball-handling turnover.  On the downside, sometimes he would struggle to defend opponents off the dribble, and other times he would not always be in great position to defend shooters.

Overall, Milos Uzan quietly turned in a good showing to help lead Dream City Christian to a win over Vertical Academy.  He is an athletic, skilled pass-first point guard that can rack up assists and rebounds in games.  He will need to improve his outside shot, but he could be a solid player at the collegiate level, and his ability to reliably run the team at the point and good feel for the game could enable him to make his way to the NBA someday.

Vertical Academy’s 6-6 high school senior forward, Tim Hall Jr. quietly played very well in his team’s loss to Dream City Christian.  He thrived at making hustle plays, and he especially excelled as an inside scorer, rebounder, and defender in this game.

Hall thrived at scoring on put backs.  He would tend to score on reverse, flip layups off the glass after grabbing offensive rebounds.  He also ran in to score on a quick put back while getting fouled another time.  Plus, he did a tremendous job of drawing fouls on put backs to get to the free throw line.  However, he really had trouble making his free throws in this match.

Hall did a good job of scoring in the post.  He would get the ball down low, and he would dribble in to score on layups.  While he didn’t show much shooting range or shooting touch from outside of the paint area, Hall did a very good job of scoring and drawing fouls when he would get the ball around the basket.

He also showcased adequate playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that can get the ball to his teammates in a variety of ways, and he can pass off the dribble as well as out of the post.  Sometimes though, he would throw inaccurate, careless passes that would go astray, which would lead to turnovers.

Also, Hall did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  He was able to haul in numerous boards on both ends of the floor due to possessing a good motor.  Hall also played very good defense in this game.  He did an outstanding job of swiping balls away from opposing ball handlers to get steals, and he has terrific hands and instincts to do so.  He did a great job of poking balls away to get steals, and he also was able to intercept passes to get another.  Hall is a ball hawk that would get a plethora of steals, and he also was able to contest a three to force a miss another time.  Sometimes though, he would commit unnecessary reach-in fouls due to over-aggressiveness.  Other times, he would struggle to defend in the post, as he wouldn’t always put himself in good position when defending on the block.

Overall, Tim Hall Jr. played very well in his team’s loss to Dream City Christian.  He’ll need to improve his outside shot and handles, but he is a high motor, mobile forward that makes team plays, and he is a very good defender that can rack up rebounds and steals.  I think he is an NCAA Division 1 caliber prospect for college basketball, and he plays with a blue-collar mentality that could enable him to be a solid contributor at that level.

NC State-bound big man, Shawn Phillips put forth an uneven performance in Dream City Christian’s win over Vertical Academy.  He is a strong, mobile big man that thrived as a finisher around the basket as well as a rebounder, but he also committed a lot of turnovers and fouls in this game.

Phillips didn’t take many shots, but he did a great job of making them when he would hoist them up.  He would score on powerful dunks off of rolls to the rim.  He ran in to score on a tip-in.  He used an overhead ball fake to score on a powerful dunk in the post.  Phillips also used a ball fake prior to making an open, mid-range shot off the catch.  He is a strong scorer around the basket, and he consistently would make moves that would enable him to score when he would get his shots off.

However, he also was very turnover prone on offense.  On one good play, Phillips was able to throw a sharp interior pass to notch an assist.  However, he had trouble handling the ball under pressure, and he would tend to commit ball-handling turnovers.  He also would throw inaccurate passes that would end up going out of bounds.   This suggests that Phillips will need to improve his passing and ball-handling skills, and he will especially need to do so in order to improve his ability to get shots up in games.

He also did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He was able to chase down boards on both ends of the floor to get them for his team.  Defensively, he looked to be fairly average at best.  Phillips will use his length and timing to contest shots to force misses.  However, sometimes he will over-rotate, and he can struggle to defend quicker players, which can lead his team to allow scores.

Overall, Shawn Phillips is a strong, mobile big man that showed some inside scoring skills, and with more polish, he could be a good player at the collegiate level.  He will likely need to spend multiple seasons there to hone his game, but over time, he could end up being a prospect to watch sometime down the road.

Vertical Academy’s high school junior point guard, Tremayne Parker didn’t play very well in his team’s loss to Dream City Christian, but he is a very athletic guard that was able to make some highlight reel-worthy plays in this game.

Parker didn’t shoot the ball very well overall as he missed many threes, but he was able to make threes both off the catch and dribble.  He seemed to be better at making corner threes off the catch, but he really struggled to make pull-up threes in this match.

He was inconsistent as a scorer off the dribble, but he seemed to be better at driving to his right to score.  Parker was able to score on a floater off the glass, and he also can use his speed to draw fouls upon his defenders.  However, he often had trouble dealing with help defenders, and he would often miss on rushed, off-balanced shots in traffic.

He was inconsistent as a score on the break.  He was able to score on a layup on the break, and he also caught a lob pass and scored on a high-flying, alley-oop dunk.  However, sometimes he would overtly try to force the issue, and he ended up having his shots blocked several times. 

Parker was quite turnover prone on offense.  He can make passes off the dribble, and he will sometimes look to find the open man to get his teammates the basketball.  However, he would tend to throw weak passes that would get intercepted, and he also threw a rushed pass that sailed out of bounds another time.

He did a decent job of rebounding the basketball, and he would tend to push the ball up the floor off of defensive rebounds.  Also, Parker defended very well in this game.  He was able to rotate to make a high-flying, chase down block to prevent an opponent from scoring on the break.  He also would get his hands on passes to help his team get steals and deflections.  He also would look to contest threes to force misses, and he also helped pressure an opposing ball handler to force a ball-handling turnover.  Sometimes though, he can gamble too much defensively at times, which lead him to be out of position to allow scores.

Overall, Tremayne Parker is a very athletic combo guard that has the physical tools to be an NCAA Division 1 guard in college basketball.  He will need to be a more consistent player in games, but he is an energetic, high-motor player whose scoring and defensive skills could enable him to be a solid contributor at the collegiate level.

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