With a high skill level and a very good motor, Day’ron Sharpe projects as one of the top big men in next year’s class.
Sharpe is an excellent rebounder who works hard in the paint and does a great job getting position inside. He has a high motor, always embracing contact and physical play. His hands when catching, instincts as a rebounder, and understanding of where the ball is going to come off the rim are all among the best in the country. He times his jumps well and uses his physicality to corral misses and create extra possessions for his team. This will likely be a major component to his game at North Carolina, a school known for their aggressive approach toward offensive rebounding. This style of play should allow Sharpe to utilize some of the strongest parts of his game.
Sharpe has a solid post game using power dribbles and spin moves to get to short half hooks or create angles to get closer to the rim. His back to the basket offense is not elite as far as footwork, touch, and fundamentals but he has enough to be a threat against smaller and weaker players. That said, post offense is less valued in the NBA now than ever before and scouts will instead want to see Sharpe’s ability to finish above the rim from dump-offs at the dunker spot or on rolls inside after ball screens.
His athletic ability is underrated at times as he is not always given the credit he deserves for his ability to explode vertically. Sharpe demonstrated himself to be a capable lob threat during his time with Montverde. He does not jump the highest, but he does get off his feet quickly with enough poise and balance to jump right off a sprint, catch the ball, and get it inside the rim in a single motion.
His soft hands and ability to catch difficult passes is showcased in his ability to finish. Sharpe can quickly gain control of passes that other bigs would not have a chance to catch at all. He quickly gathers the ball and goes into his finishing motion after the catch, not allowing defenders the time to recover and contest his attempts. He is able to draw fouls at an incredibly high rate by taking contact and playing with great ferocity. While playing on the Adidas Gauntlet circuit with Garner Road, Sharpe had 126 free-throw attempts compared to 199 field goals, a ratio of 0.63 free throws per field goal attempt.
Passing and Handle
Sharpe’s agility and perimeter skills are overlooked, especially by those that have not watched him before he joined Montverde. While playing alongside fellow five-star recruits like Cade Cunningham, Scottie Barnes, and Caleb Houstan, Sharpe embraced his responsibilities as a rebounder, rim protector, and interior finisher but did not have as many opportunities to showcase his ball-handling and playmaking skills. While playing with his AAU club, Sharpe would often play facing up from the elbows and even the three point line where he could attack the rim or take jump shots off the dribble. He also showed the ability to bring the ball up and run open court offense, finding streaking teammates and crossing over opponents.
His playmaking in AAU was especially impressive as Garner Road ran much of their offense with Sharpe as their focal point. He did an excellent job of reading defenders, finding cutters, and making accurate long-range deliveries to shooters on the perimeter. Some of the creativity he showed as a passer was extremely impressive as he flung no-look fastballs hitting teammates in stride to create easy opportunities for them right at the basket. He ended up leading Garner Road, one of the top 17u programs in the country last year, in assists – a rare feat for a big man.
There were times with Garner Road when he tried doing too much as a ball-handler leading to unforced errors; however, he showed the ability to reign in and rectify that as he adjusted to a smaller role at Montverde. He probably will not be asked to handle the ball too much in the NBA, but it should be noted that his agility, coordination, and skill set are generally underrated – he clearly is not just some run of the mill, strictly back-to-the basket center. His passing can certainly be utilized at any level. The ability to make quick decisions out of short rolls can be extremely valuable in the league and Sharpe certainly has the foundation to be one of the better big man passers in the ACC next year.
Becoming a better shooter is likely the key to Sharpe’s development in the future and his status as an NBA prospect. He occasionally showed an ability to take and make jump shots at Montverde and in AAU, but this is what scouts are most curious and concerned about in his game. Spacing is key in the modern NBA and every player, even most centers, are expected to provide some semblance of a threat shooting from the perimeter.
Sharpe’s shot mechanics are generally solid. He shows competent footwork and does a good job of transferring energy from his lower to upper body over the wind up of his shot. He also shows good fluidity on his release with a smooth single motion form. He can stand to raise his set point a bit and seems to prefer to lean away from the basket on his attempts, struggling more during forward momentum shot attempts. His shot is operational mechanically and will mostly just require further repetition, comfort, and confidence.
While there are examples of more difficult shots that Sharpe was able to make throughout his film, he still did not always seem comfortable and confident in taking a high volume of jump shots. He took just 11 three-pointers in 547 minutes across the several Adidas Gauntlet events that he played in. He made only 56% of his 126 free throw attempts. Among available stats at Montverde the results are similar, making 18 out of 33 free throws for 54.6% and taking only 6 three-pointers in 248 minutes.
Roy Williams may ask Sharpe to focus on a role that requires most of his attempts to come from inside the three-point line and that can be overlooked by NBA scouts. Even if that is the case, raising his free throw percentage will be imperative. Free throw shooting is highly correlated to jump shooting capability for draft prospects. If Sharpe can shoot 70% or better on a significant number of attempts during his time at North Carolina, that would quell a lot of the anxiety that talent evaluators currently have towards Sharpe’s shooting touch.
Sharpe does a solid job of using his size to bother attempts inside and is an excellent rebounder. Sharpe has shown flashes of the ability to cover players on the perimeter, containing penetration and using his size to recover over larger spaces. He is not a particularly explosive or agile horizontal athlete and quicker matchups gave Sharpe trouble.
He embraced his interior defensive role at Montverde but by NBA standards he is undersized for the center position. His timing and hand-eye coordination as a shot-blocker needs work as well.
Becoming a game-changing defender will play a major part in the expectations NBA teams have for Sharpe as a prospect. Being able to stick with quicker ball-handlers for a few dribbles and provide a consistent presence as a shot-blocker is crucial to his draft evaluation. It is also important for Sharpe to stay in the best possible physical shape. Keeping up with and further improving upon his body and physique will be helpful in gaining the necessary mobility, coordination, and strength that can influence Sharpe’s success and value as a player in the future.