No. 1 basketball recruit Shaedon Sharpe commits to Kentucky basketball’s 2022 recruiting class


LEXINGTON, Ky. – For the first time since 2015, Kentucky basketball has landed the No. 1-ranked recruit in the country.

Canadian guard Shaedon Sharpe, the No. 1-ranked prospect in the high school class of 2022 according to Rivals and ESPN, committed to Kentucky Tuesday over finalists Arizona, Oklahoma State, Kansas and the NBA G League.

If Sharpe retains his No. 1 spot in the Rivals and ESPN rankings through the end of the 2022 cycle, he would be the first prospect ranked as the top play in the class by any of the major services to sign with Kentucky since Skal Labissiere in 2015.

Sharpe averaged 22.6 points per game during the regular season portion of the Nike EYBL circuit in July, leading all players who appeared in more than two games in scoring. He shot 36.4% from 3-point range during the tournament.

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“A strong and explosive shooting guard, he is a shot-maker both off the dribble and from a catch-and-shoot scenario,” ESPN recruiting analyst Paul Biancardi wrote of Sharpe after elevating him to the No. 1 spot in the website’s 2022 ranking. “He has demonstrated the exceptional ability to create his own shot as well. Whether it’s a set play or a broken play, Sharpe will make opponents pay.

Sharpe is the second prospect to commit to UK’s 2022 class, joining five-star guard Skyy Clark.

Here is a closer look at what Sharpe’s commitment means to Kentucky.

Kentucky basketball gains recruiting momentum

It would be easy to tie the first commitment from a No. 1-ranked prospect in seven years to John Calipari shaking up his staff with the hires of Orlando Antigua and Chin Coleman, but Sharpe was considered a Kentucky lean even before the staff changes.

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Sharpe plays for the same AAU program that developed former Wildcat Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. His AAU coach told the Lexington Herald Leader in December UK’s work with Gilgeous-Alexander had already made a strong impact on Sharpe’s recruitment.

Still, the additions of Antigua and Coleman to the staff are a large factor in what could shape up to be a historic 2022 class, even by Calipari’s lofty UK standards.

Kentucky is considered a leading contender for center Dereck Lively, the No. 2-ranked prospect in the 247Sports Composite, as well as five-star guard Carson Wallace and five-star Adem Bona. The Wildcats are also in the running for five-star wing Chris Livingston, the No. 5-ranked prospect in the class.

Kentucky basketball history with No. 1-ranked recruits

Sharpe could be the fifth No. 1-ranked prospect to sign with the Wildcats in the Calipari era.

Point guard John Wall (Rivals, 2009), center Anthony Davis (ESPN, 247Sports, 2011), center Nerlens Noel (ESPN, 247Sports, 2012) and center Skal Labissiere (Rivals, 2015) were each ranked as the No. 1 prospect in their class by one of the major services. Wall and Davis both went No. 1 overall the NBA draft after one season in Lexington. Noel looked on his way to contention for the top pick before he tore his ACL during the spring semester of his freshman year. He was still selected with the No. 6 pick in the 2013 draft.

Of Kentucky’s previous No. 1-ranked signees, only Labissiere was not an immediate star in Lexington. He struggled for most of his freshman season before sliding to No. 28 in the 2016 draft.

Email Jon Hale at jahale@courier-journal.com; Follow him on Twitter at @JonHale_CJ.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kentucky basketball lands Shaedon Sharpe, top recruit in 2022 class

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