Position: Center / Power Forward
Weight: 245 lbs
Hometown: Winterville, NC
High School: Montverde Academy (FL)
247Composite: No. 13 overall (★★★★★)
College: North Carolina
Physical Overview: Physically mature, sturdy frame. Strong, but top-heavy body proportions impact his balance and ability to change directions on the perimeter. Underwhelming vertical pop in traffic, but capable lob finisher when given time/space to load up. Upper body is stronger than lower body, though his intelligence and positioning assuage these weaknesses on offense and defense. Meager 7-foot wingspan for a big, which is below average for a power forward (7’1”) and center (7’3”), which hinders finishing and shot blocking ability. Runs the floor hard, good open court speed, competent at back pedaling. Isn’t a loaf laterally, can survive on the perimeter when necessary.
Personality Overview: Team-first, selfless player. Great motor. Improved defensive engagement at Montverde. Does the little things. Cerebral. Great communicator on both ends.
Offensive Role: Rim-running paint finisher (duck-ins, lobs, transition), second-chance generator (advanced technique, positioning, motor), high-level ball mover (short roll, post, transition), potential C&S spacer (workable foundation). Moves purposefully and intelligently, with and without the ball.
Defensive Role: Rim protector (positionally sound, deters cutters), show/aggressive drop P&R defender (active hands, mobile, engaged), physical glass cleaner.
Projection: Expected multi-year college player at UNC. Talented enough to start right away, but will have to fight incumbent starting center Armando Bacot and fellow five-star freshman Walker Kessler. Eventual starter, like All-ACC caliber player, considering ideological fit under Roy Williams.
Range: Undrafted to second round, regardless of draft year. Promising overseas career if not in NBA.
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- Special passing ability for a 6’10” PF/C. Capable of transitioning from his live dribble into a one-handed dart when running the break. Makes quick reads, scans the floor in nanoseconds, rarely forces passes, can look off defenders and manipulate windows. Capable of full-court outlets, in-out/out-in, cutter feeds, skips, low/pinch-post passing, entries/over-the-top lobs, short roll, etc.
- Tries to be Bam by dribbling up-court, but the control is rather rudimentary (not bad!) and his left hand is pretty weak. Did flash change of direction here and there and has a spin move he likes to do on the block, but still limited. Spins out of the post with regularity and can take other bigs off the bounce, so hope isn’t lost that his ball skills develop more … albeit to a limited extent. Gets stripped in the post often due to where he gathers his dribble and his tendency to bring the ball down when trying to load up.
- Absolute nose for the ball as a rebounder, both in an outside of his area. Great hands, great hand-eye coordination and ball hunting, gets early position when shots go up, spins/swims to shed opponents, gets his base low/underneath opponents, gets his center of gravity low, etc. Relentless.
- Simple scoring arsenal at the moment. Wins with touch and size (for age), but more so on ATR finishes below the rim. When on the right block, will spin left/baseline as his go-to move and finish with either his right or both hands. Left hook is pretty unreliable. Good at getting tip putbacks, though, on both his teammates’ misses and his own. Limited scorer overall, though.
- Only PF-sized and lacks noteworthy bounce (weak lower body). Below-the-rim finisher, though he can finish lobs and get OREB tip dunks fairly often. Needs space/time to load up. Weak calves. Think he’ll be fine in NCAA, but worry about NBA ceiling. Wasn’t efficient in the post at Montverde and relies on easy/close looks at the basket.
- Average length, by my eye. Reportedly 7’… which is below average (7’1 PF, 7’3 C).
- Not very flexible or nimble, seen by his inability to hit up-and-unders on his face-up drives. Not a contortionist by any means. Thick upper body likely a factor.
- Moves well. Runs hard. Good open court speed; busts his ass to get early position, which fits UNC’s offensive identity (duck ins, lobs, etc.). Was 100th percentile in transition at Montverde.
- Lateral quickness is ok, but he’s a bit top-heavy (Polar notes that upper and lower body are disproportionate) and his footwork/balance needs work when defending hedges/switches. Slow at changing directions on defense.
- Flashes a jumper, albeit low career %’s. Solid foundation, so he should become a mid-range shooter in time … and a 3-ball is possible, too. He’s made strides with correcting some quirks, but there’s still a way to go. Needs to work on wrist flexion, shot prep (he’s improved here!), arm angle, fingers, etc.
- Issue now is that the ball comes off of his fingers without consistency; can spot that with how he turns his wrist when shooting free throws. Some come straight off (index, middle), some come off of side (ring, pinky). Wild misses.
- Better as an aggressive drop defender in the P&R, since he’s able to stay engaged. Hand activity has shot up in the last year; will deter entries, lobs, kickouts; contests shots; contains well.
- Defense is super intuitive and impactful. Major strides at Montverde. Cuts off drives, purposeful roamer, rotates on time, etc. Effort and technique wasn’t always there, but he’s so good now.
- Great communicator. Always directing teammates on offense and defense.
- Weak left hand. Affects dribbling, passing, finishing.
- Improved moving without the ball. Moves with a purpose. Flashes to the middle if the offense stalls and can redirect to open teammates, can set designed or freelance screens (now sets physical & technically-sound screens), etc. Screening is a legit skill now, but haven’t seen much in terms of sealing off driving lanes.
- Hulk against weaker bigs. Routinely out-muscled IMG center and Duke signee Mark Williams (7’0”, 225 lbs) in their three meetings last season. Williams hit some shots over Sharpe due to the clear difference in height and length, but Sharpe constantly pushed Williams off his spot or would deny him in the post, absolutely bullying him.