Shaedon Sharpe, who never played for Kentucky as a freshman, to enter 2022 NBA draft, sources say

Elite guard Shaedon Sharpe plans to stay in the NBA draft and not return to Kentucky, sources told ESPN on Thursday.

Sharpe announced Thursday that he was entering the draft but maintaining his college eligibility. Despite having until June 1 to withdraw from the draft, Sharpe is ultimately expected to announce his intentions to keep his name in it, sources told ESPN.

Sharpe is No. 6 in ESPN's NBA draft rankings.

A representative of Sharpe's high school, Dream City Christian (Arizona), confirmed to ESPN's Jonathan Givony on Thursday that Sharpe graduated in May 2021. His diploma is expected to be sent to the NBA league office this week, which would clear the way for him to be added to the draft early-entry list.

Sharpe, the former No. 1 prospect in the 2022 class and a surefire lottery pick, enrolled for the spring semester at Kentucky with the expectation that he would practice with the team and then play with the Wildcats during the 2022-23 season.

When ESPN reported in January that he could potentially enter the 2022 NBA draft, speculation began to rise that Sharpe might suit up during the 2021-22 campaign. Sharpe, however, did not participate in any games and will end his Kentucky career without playing a minute for the Wildcats.

"My path to this point wasn't a straight road of successes but my passion for this game and my dream to play at the highest level has allowed me to overcome challenges and disappointements and has shaped me into who I am today," Sharpe said Thursday in his post.

A 6-foot-6 guard from Canada, Sharpe rose to the top of the ESPN 100 after a dominant summer for the UPlay Canada grassroots program on the Nike EYBL circuit. He averaged 22.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists while shooting 55.6% on 2s and 36.1% from 3-point range.