In a statement released by the UNC athletic department, first-year center Day’Ron Sharpe of the men’s basketball team announced today that he is forgoing the remainder of his college eligibility and will declare for the 2021 NBA Draft.
“I feel that I’m now ready for the next level,” Sharpe said in the statement. “I’ve made it this far and there’s no reason for me to stop now!”
Sharpe had a breakout campaign in what will be his only year in Chapel Hill. The 6-foot-11 native of Greenville averaged 9.5 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. His 26 total blocks were good for joint-highest on the team — alongside sophomore big man Armando Bacot — and he led the ACC in total offensive rebounds with 97.
“This is only the beginning of a dream I have worked so hard to accomplish,” Sharpe said.
Thanks to his standout play, he was named to the ACC’s 2021 All-Freshman team, while also coming in second for both the ACC Freshman of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year awards.
“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,” head coach Roy Williams said in another statement. “I loved coaching him and will cheer for him forever.”
Sharpe is not the first Tar Heel to announce his departure after this season. On March 22, fellow first-year big Walker Kessler announced that he wouldn’t be returning to UNC for the 2021-22 season, but would instead be entering the transfer portal.
With Sharpe's departure, both of the five-star big men Williams recruited last year will not be returning. Because senior forward Garrison Brooks will likely leave the team after this season, and with Bacot possibly eyeing the draft as well, there may be major questions about how the Tar Heels' typically-dominant frontcourt will look next season.
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