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Day'Ron Sharpe Lands In Right Spot With Brooklyn Nets

Center out of North Carolina arrives in Brooklyn to prep for Summer League

Chalk one up for the mock draft prognosticators.

As the 2021 NBA Draft approached, North Carolina center Day’Ron Sharpe was an increasingly popular projection for Brooklyn with the 27th pick in the first round. He ended up going two spots later, officially selected by the Phoenix Suns with the Nets agreeing in principle to a trade for his draft rights, but as many predicted, he is in fact a Net and was joined on Monday by fellow first-rounder Cameron Thomas, Nets GM Sean Marks, and coach Steve Nash for an introductory press conference at HSS Training Center.

“I had a workout with the Nets,” said Sharpe. “I came in, did what I was supposed to do. We had a great conversation interview. Felt I did a great job when I came in to work out for them. Going into draft night, I was just hoping to get drafted. Luckily, I was still on the board when the Nets had a pick and they picked me. It’s like a dream come true. They’re giving me a chance, an opportunity to prove myself. I feel like I’m gonna be a sleeper in this year’s draft.”

Sharpe arrived in Brooklyn on Sunday after watching the draft on Thursday night in his hometown of Greenville, NC at a party with family and friends, including former UNC coach Roy Williams. One of the most sought-after high school recruits a year earlier while playing at powerhouse Montverde Academy, Sharpe played one season with the Tar Heels and averaged 9.5 points and 7.6 rebounds in 19.1 minutes per game while earning a spot on the ACC All-Freshman team. He was also second in the voting for ACC Freshman of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year.

At 6-foot-11 and 265 pounds, Sharpe is the third big man the Nets have drafted in the last three years, but he brings a different physical profile than Nic Claxton or stretch-big Reggie Perry.

“I feel like when it comes to physicality, I’m a physical player,” said Sharpe. “I’m really not gonna let nobody push me around or do what they want. I’m gonna hold my ground. The way I prepare for the NBA and physicality just getting my body stronger, getting my body right. When it comes to switching, I feel I’m comfortable. I like to accept the challenge when I switch onto a guard … I like to accept the challenge to prove to people that I can defend.”

It starts this week as Sharpe and Thomas get to work in preparation for next week’s Summer League in Las Vegas. The Nets could have a lot of bodies competing for center minutes depending on how free agency shakes out this week, but the 19-year-old is ready to put in the work to prove himself.

“These are young, young guys coming into this league, and they both have the potential to play in this league,” said Nash of both Sharpe and Thomas. “They’ve got to earn it and prove it on a contending team. They both may very well earn minutes but they both may not, and that doesn’t mean that we’re discouraged in any way. We want to develop these guys regardless of whether they play or don’t play. So this is a long-term play that may happen quicker than we think and they may earn minutes right away, but if not, we’re just as excited about their long-term development. They’ll have to stay the course and work on the intangibles and all the things that they need to do on the court. So we’re just excited that they’re talented young guys and come into our program, can bring energy, life spirit and hopefully contribute on the floor, but if not, we’re just as excited about their long-term future.”

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