Two 19-year-old Trail Blazers’ draft picks land in new home in Portland

Published: Jun. 26, 2022 at 11:41 AM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Drafted number seven and 57, Shaedon Sharpe and Jabari Walker should be in in their primes by about 2027. But the future is also now for the 19-year-old Portland Trail Blazer draft pick duo.

It’s a childhood dream to teenage reality. The curious case of Sharpe is one to watch. The 6-foot, 5-inch versatile wing from London, Ontario, hasn’t played a competitive game of hoops since high school.

“I wasn’t playing for about a year,” Sharpe said. “I mean I love to get out there and compete with the guys, so I miss that.”

The number one prep prospect in the class of 2022 enrolled at Kentucky but never played a game for John Calipari’s Wildcats.

“One of the reasons why I didn’t play was just getting my body right,” he said.

As a shooting guard who says he didn’t take hoops real serious until the ninth grade, Sharpe knows Portland is packed in the backcourt. But the kid should pop when the opportunity rises.

“I am prepared for anything, really,” he said. “Just me getting out there trying to impact the game, really, with whatever helps the team.”

If Walker looks familiar, it’s because the new number 34 from Inglewood, Calif., is a spitting image of his father, NBA veteran Samaki Walker.

“I credit (my father) for my knowledge of the game,” Walker said. “Like coach said, having a pro game and just playing the right way. Rebounding and having a knack for the little things, I just credit my dad for just teaching me how to play the right way.”

The 6-foot, 9-inch forward was an all-first team PAC-12 player who led the conference in rebounds at Colorado. The school is also the alma mater of legendary Buffalo and second-year Trail Blazer head coach Chauncey Billups.

“It’s not about where you are drafted, it’s all about fit,” Walker said. “I feel like I am right at home here and there is opportunity right away. I just feel like this is perfect for me.”

The Blazers will be one to grow on after a rotten 2021.

“We didn’t have a lot of happy times last year,” Billups said. “We lost a lot, went through a lot, a lot of influx in the organization and our team. That is over with now.”

General manager Joe Cronin also spoke on the expectations going forward.

“The goal is to win the championship, it’s plain and simple for us,” Cronin said. “We’re not content making the playoffs year to year and winning a round or two. Our goal is to grow and take this to the peak.”

While Sharpe and Walker get their lay of the land here, they will soon be off to Las Vegas for the tip-off of summer league play in two weeks.