NBA

Canadians Shaedon Sharpe, Andrew Nembhard declare for NBA draft

Canadian guards Shaedon Sharpe and Andrew Nembhard announced their intentions to enter the NBA draft on Thursday.

Several mock drafts project Sharpe as top-10 pick despite lack of college playing time

Canada's Shaedon Sharpe, who spent parts of last season with Kentucky Wildcats, declared for the NBA draft on Thursday. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Canadian guards Shaedon Sharpe and Andrew Nembhard announced their intentions to enter the NBA draft on Thursday.

Sharpe, the London, Ont., native who spent the last semester with Kentucky, will be evaluated while maintaining his collegiate eligibility after not playing last season with the Wildcats.

This will be the third time Nembhard, the 22-year-old from Aurora, Ont., who played the past two seasons at Gonzaga University, has declared for the draft. He did so previously in 2019 and 2020, after his freshman and sophomore seasons with Florida before he withdrew.

Several NBA mock drafts have projected the 6-foot-6 Sharpe as a possible top-10 selection this summer despite his absence of playing time with the Wildcats (26-8), who were upset 85-79 in overtime of the NCAA Tournament first round by tiny No. 15 seed Saint Peter's.

Sharpe practised with Kentucky and dressed for games after enrolling in January after originally being considered the consensus No. 1 overall prospect of the 2022 class. The NBA draft combine in May 16-22 with a June 1 deadline to return to school.

Sharpe stated in a release Thursday that while unsure of what lies ahead, he must test the waters and receive feedback. He added, "I pray you all will understand this is not a decision I've taken lightly."

Coach John Calipari noted that Sharpe has already registered for summer and fall classes at Kentucky but said he supports Sharpe's decision to explore every option about his future.

Nembhard flourishes with Bulldogs

According to league rules, Nembhard won't be able to withdraw again this time around, despite having an extra year of collegiate eligibility that was granted to all NCAA players in October 2020 because of the impact of COVID-19.

"I have decided to enter my name into the 2022 NBA draft and fulfill my dream of playing in the league," Nembhard said in a statement.

Nembhard transferred to Gonzaga after two years at Florida. He flourished with the Bulldogs, earning West Coast Conference (WCC) sixth man of the year honours in 2021 and earning a first-team All-WCC selection this past season, while being named the 2022 WCC Tournament's most outstanding player.

In the two seasons Nembhard played at Gonzaga, the Bulldogs reached the national championship game in 2021 and lost in the Sweet 16 of the 2022 NCAA Tournament.

"Coming to Gonzaga was truly one of the best decisions I have ever made, and I am so grateful for this place," Nembhard's statement said. "I am thankful and blessed to be a part of teams with so much success and accomplishments but nothing compares to all these relationships I have made over these last two years that will last me a lifetime."

Nembhard is childhood friends with New York Knicks forward and Canadian national team star R.J. Barrett. The two played high school hoops together at Montverde Academy.

With files from The Canadian Press

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