UNC big man Day’Ron Sharpe has been selected by the Brooklyn Nets as the 29th pick of the NBA Draft, making it the third season a row that we have seen a Tar Heel get drafted as a one-and-done player. As weird as this is to say, he is also the last Tar Heel that will ever get drafted immediately after completing a season with Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams. It’s a depressing detail, but at the same time it is an exciting moment for the North Carolina native who gave his all to Williams despite the way the season ended.
During his one season in Chapel Hill, Sharpe averaged 9.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks per game, and shot at a 51.9% clip from the field. Whenever he was on the court, Sharpe worked as hard as any player I have seen in a Carolina uniform. He proved himself to be an elite rebounder, ran the floor really well, and rarely ever stopped moving in general. His shooting percentage could’ve been higher, as one of his weaknesses during the season involved getting into a volleyball match with himself and the rim, but it’s likely something that will be greatly improved in the NBA. In fact, Sharpe has lost 25 pounds since the season ended, which may add more explosiveness to his 6’11 frame.
One area that will be worth keeping an eye on for the Nets is Sharpe’s jump shot, which was inconsistent during his time at UNC. He has spent a considerable amount of time in the gym working on it, but the big question will be how far out from the basket will he be able to shoot at a decent clip. I wouldn’t expect a dramatic improvement right away, so as long as the Nets are willing to be patient with him, there is more than enough other things about his game that should make up for it.
One big thing that will make up for it is his defense, which was one of the most enjoyable aspects of his game to watch during his freshman campaign. Sharpe came really close to averaging more steals than blocks, which gives an idea of just how high his motor runs. He was always looking for a way to disrupt the ball handler, and when he couldn’t pick someone’s pockets he had some highlight reel blocks. If the Nets’ goal was to get a big that can be an elite rebounder and a good defender, then they did a great job with this pick.
Congratulations to Day’Ron Sharpe on becoming the latest Tar Heel in the NBA!