Men's Basketball

Kentucky Has Two Taken in First Round of the 2022 NBA Draft

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Kentucky men’s basketball head coach John Calipari has dubbed the NBA Draft as his program’s graduation night, and continuing with the annual tradition, two more Wildcats were selected in the NBA Draft on Thursday at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Shaedon Sharpe (No. 7, Portland Trail Blazers) and TyTy Washington Jr. (No. 29, Memphis Grizzlies) were picked during the opening round of the 2022 NBA Draft.

“I’m happy for both of our guys getting to hear their names called tonight,” Calipari said. “Much like some of our other guys like Keldon (Johnson), Tyrese (Maxey) and Immanuel (Quickley) – TyTy is going to make a lot of teams regret passing on him. His basketball IQ is advanced for a player of his age, and he has a bright future ahead of him. Shaedon is going to a great situation in Portland which will allow him to develop and take his game to where we all know it can go. I had hoped Kellan (Grady) and Davion (Mintz) would get a chance to be drafted, but I know they’re going to have an opportunity in this league.”

In 13 seasons with Calipari at the helm, Kentucky has churned out three No. 1 selections, 34 first-rounders, 22 lottery picks and 45 total players in the NBA Draft. The 45 draft picks are 12 more than the next closest school (Duke).

With both players earning selection in the opening round, UK has now had at least one player taken in the first round in each of the last 13 drafts under Calipari. That’s the longest streak in the modern draft era (since 1966).

Sharpe was the first Wildcat off the board. He is the third player in UK program history to be selected by Portland and the first since Sam Bowie in 1984.

“I’m really excited to get started,” Sharpe said. “From a young age, I’ve always dreamed of playing in the NBA. I mean, my dream came true. I’m really excited and I just can’t wait to get to Portland and get started.”

Sharpe enrolled at Kentucky in January a semester early and was ranked as the No. 1 overall player in the 2022 class. He averaged 24.1 points and six rebounds per game as a junior at Dream City Christian Academy.

Washington was selected 29th by the Memphis Grizzlies. It marks the second straight draft a UK player has been taken by Memphis but then had his draft rights traded. Washington’s rights have been proposal to move to Houston. Draft night trades will be finalized at a later date.

“I mean, every player wants to be a top pick, high pick and stuff like that …,” Washington said. “It only takes one team to believe in you, and you can go out there and shock the world. That’s kind of my mindset on it. I always bet on myself, so I’m just going to go out there with a chip on my shoulder and remember all the teams that skipped me.”

Washington was a Jerry West Award semifinalist for the nation’s best shooting guard and earned second-team All-Southeastern Conference accolades. He appeared in 31 games and made 29 starts while averaging 12.5 points, 3.9 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game. Washington also led the SEC with a 2.35 assist-to-turnover ratio.

The Wildcats have had more top-10 picks, more lottery selections and more first-round picks in the Calipari era than any other team in the country. UK has had multiple first-round selections in all but one draft during Calipari’s tenure.

Kentucky has had 136 players drafted 138 times in its illustrious history with 59 players selected in the opening round.

Calipari is the only coach to have multiple players selected in 15 consecutive NBA Drafts, dating back to his time at Memphis.

Of the 32 players at UK in the Calipari era who have declared for the NBA Draft after their freshman seasons, 29 have been first-round draft picks after both Sharpe’s and Washington’s selection (does not include the late Terrence Clarke). All previous players (not including Sharpe and Washington) have played in an NBA game.

Graduate students Kellan Grady and Davion Mintz went undrafted. They are both expected to have an opportunity to sign a free-agent deal.

Draft Notes

  • Kentucky has had 136 players drafted 138 times (Johnny Cox ’58 and Roger Newman ’60 both drafted in Jr. eligible draft, but returned for senior year and were drafted again)
  • UK has had 58 players selected in the opening round (34 have come in the last 13 years) of the draft
  • Kentucky has had 45 players selected in the draft over the last 13 years, 12 more than the next closest school (Duke)
  • UK has had 14 players selected in the top 10, 22 in the top 15 and 34 in the first round of the draft in the last 13 years
  • Calipari has had two or more players selected in 15 consecutive NBA drafts dating back to 2008 with Memphis
  • UK has had at least one player taken in the opening round in each of the last 13 drafts under Calipari. That’s the longest such streak in the modern draft era (since 1966).
  • In 30 seasons as a head coach, Calipari has coached 56 NBA Draft picks, including 40 first-round selections with 18 of those going in the top 10. He has had 45 selected in the last 13 years as UK’s head coach, including 34 coming in the opening round
  • Since the draft moved to two rounds in 1989, the Wildcats lead all schools with 45 first-round picks. Thirty-four of those selections have come in the last 13 years under Calipari
  • Of the 74 players who have finished their college careers at UK under Calipari, 45 have been selected in the NBA Draft, a 60.8% success rate. Another five of those made the NBA, and the majority of the rest were walk-ons. This number does not include Clarke
  • Of the 32 players at Kentucky who have declared for the NBA Draft after their freshman seasons, 29 have been first-round picks (does not include Clarke). All previous players (not including Sharpe or Washington) have played a game in the NBA. Calipari is 33 for 36 in that regard when including his players from Memphis

For the latest on the Kentucky men’s basketball team, follow @KentuckyMBB on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and on the web at UKathletics.com.

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