PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Portland Trail Blazers selected Shaedon Sharpe with the seventh pick in the NBA draft on Thursday, taking a chance on a player who never suited up in college.
Sharpe, 6-foot-6 wing from Canada, was a five-star recruit who committed to Kentucky but never played for the Wildcats. He intended on redshirting his first season, but instead decided to declare for the draft.
“Going from high school to college and not playing your college season and then straight to the NBA,” Sharpe said. “It’s quite the journey but every step of the way I’ve just fought and had fun with it.”
The Blazers also had the 46th and 57th picks.
Coming off a season marked by a spate of injuries, a new coach, a front-office shakeup and a roster overhaul, the Blazers are rebuilding around All-Star Damian Lillard.
“He’s a great guard himself and he’s been in this league for some time now, so I just can’t wait to really learn from him,” Sharpe said.
Portland was active ahead of the draft, acquiring Jerami Grant from the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither team announced the agreement.
Lillard, who was injured for much of last season, played with Grant on the gold medal-winning U.S. team at last year’s Tokyo Olympics. Grant averaged 19.2 points in 47 games last season with the Pistons.
The Blazers finished 27-55 last season, their worst record since 2005-06. Clearly eying draft position late in the season, Portland lost 11 games by more than 30 points after the All-Star break.
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