On Wednesday afternoon, North Carolina Tar Heels star freshman center Day’Ron Sharpe officially announced his decision to enter the 2021 NBA Draft. As a projected first-round pick, Sharpe made no mention of the classic “testing the waters” tactic — marking a true end to his college basketball career.
The former Heels’ big man announced his decision with a statement on Twitter.
“I’ve always said that I wanted to go to UNC. I received plenty of offers, but chose to wait for UNC to offer me – believe me, I don’t regret that decision,” Sharpe said. “In the past year I’ve met people that I never thought would make such an impact on my life. My teammates and I have worked together, loved together, laughed together, played and cried together. I love the bond we’ve created. I also really want to thank the coaching staff for believing that I would be a great addition to the team.
“I feel that I’m now ready for the next level. I’ve made it this far and there’s no reason for me to stop now! … This is only the beginning of a dream I have worked so hard to accomplish. With that being said, I will be declaring for the NBA Draft with high hopes for the support of my Carolina Family. Once a Tar Heel, always a Tar Heel!”
Coach Williams on Day’Ron: pic.twitter.com/GSXVE5VAb0
— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) March 24, 2021
In an official statement from the Carolina Basketball Twitter account, long-time head coach Roy Williams responded to Sharpe’s departure. As is typical of Williams, he was overwhelmingly supportive of his player’s NBA decision.
“Day’Ron is going to be a fantastic professional player,” Williams said. “I loved coaching him. He has a tremendously high motor. He’s naturally one of the greatest rebounders I’ve ever coached and a young man I truly just enjoyed. I think over the next few years if he gets even a little more disciplined, a little more focused, we are going to see an unbelievable player at the professional level, just like I think he had a chance to be an unbelievable player here for us. I loved coaching him and will cheer for him forever.”
Through 29 games and four starts for the Tar Heels in 2020-21, Sharpe averaged 9.5 points, 7.6 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game. Behind his consistently solid play throughout the year, the highly-touted recruit earned All-ACC freshman team honors and finished second place in voting for both ACC Freshman of the Year/Sixth Man of the Year behind Florida State’s Scottie Barnes.
At 6-foot-11, 265 lbs with end-to-end athleticism, Sharpe was the prototypical UNC big man. Leading the Tar Heels’ outstanding offensive rebounding figures throughout the year, the NBA prospect led the ACC with 3.4 offensive rebounds per game. Even more impressively, he currently leads the entire NCAA in offensive rebound percentage (.183).
According to GoHeels.com, Sharpe’s 7.0 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes is the highest total in school history.
Unfortunately for the Heels, Sharpe isn’t the only freshman big man leaving the team this offseason. Just yesterday, former five-star recruit Walker Kessler announced his entrance into the NCAA transfer portal.
Heavy speculation has also emerged in regards to the futures of sophomore forward Armando Bacot and freshman guard Caleb Love. Senior big man Garrison Brooks could return with a final year of eligibility, but his path is also unclear.
With so much uncertainty brewing, we could be looking at a completely altered Carolina roster in 2021.
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