UNC Basketball 2020-2021 Player Preview: Day’Ron Sharpe

FORT MYERS, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 19: Day'ron Sharpe #23 of Montverde Academy looks on during the City of Palms Classic at Suncoast Credit Union Arena on December 19, 2019 in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
FORT MYERS, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 19: Day'ron Sharpe #23 of Montverde Academy looks on during the City of Palms Classic at Suncoast Credit Union Arena on December 19, 2019 in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Keeping It Heel continues previewing the 2020-2021 UNC basketball program with freshman center Day’Ron Sharpe, who has the potential to make a major impact on the Tar Heels front court this season.

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There’s an old saying, “The Rich Get Richer.” That’s a perfect phrase to sum up the Tar Heels front court heading into the 2020-2021 season.

Not only does the UNC basketball program return starters Garrison Brooks and Armando Bacot, they have also added two 5-star big men to the mix. The combination of the four bigs (along with other contributors) should give Roy Williams one of the best front courts in the country to work with.

One of the big men joining the program is Day’Ron Sharpe, a 6-foot-11, 265 pound center from Montverde, Florida. Out of Montverde Academy, Sharpe was the No. 3 ranked center and the No. 15 ranked prospect overall in the Class of 2020, according to 247 Sports.

Since he committed to North Carolina in June 2018, there has been a lot of anticipation for his arrival on campus. Now that he is officially in Chapel Hill, Share didn’t waste any time making an impact as the UNC Basketball program prepares for the upcoming season.

Sharpe is considered to be one of the more physical big men in the country. He has a reputation as a very strong big man whose motor, ability to run the floor and above-average rebounding skills will help him thrive in Roy Williams’ system.

Considering that Williams loves to operate with his traditional two-big front court, there should be plenty of opportunities for Sharpe to make an impact this season.

What to Expect in 2020-2021

As the Tar Heels have been practicing for the upcoming season, the incoming freshman have drawn some of the headlines, but none more than Day’Ron Sharpe.

On the CBS Sports Eye on College Basketball podcast, national analyst Matt Norlander raved about Sharpe. Norlander stated how “intrigued and impressed” he is with the UNC Basketball front court heading into the season, and thinks the unit is by far the best front court in the ACC.

Here’s a quote from Norlander from the podcast episode:

"“Day’Ron Sharpe is tremendous. They have too many bigs. They always have really good bigs, but they have so many good bigs. I talked to the UNC staff about two weeks ago and I was told that (Day’Ron Sharpe) is like the second-best player on the team right now. If that is the case, and I really like what Walker Kessler can do and Bacot is already established and the backcourt play will definitely be the key, but they are certainly intriguing and fascinating up front and clearly have the best frontcourt in the ACC.”"

Based on Norlander’s quote, you can tell how impressed the UNC coaching staff has been with Sharpe so far. With Brooks considered to be the Tar Heels best player, it’s rather interesting to hear that there is a belief that Sharpe is right behind him on the list.

It is expected that Brooks and Bacot will remain as the team’s starters in the backcourt, at least for the start of the season. However, with the Tar Heels front court depth, Williams could elect to mix-and-match to find the best combinations.

In regards to possible minutes, let’s compare Sharpe to Bacot’s freshman campaign:

Last season, Bacot averaged 24.4 minutes per game. The Tar Heels definitely have more depth down low this season, but it is still very possible that Sharpe could log anywhere from 20-25 minutes per contest.

Other than Brooks (who averaged just under 35 minutes per-game last season), Williams will likely allocate the remaining front court minutes to the “hot hand,” or to the player who best represents what the Tar Heels need at the given moment.

Considering the skills that Sharpe brings to the table, he should have no problem finding playing time this season and beyond.

Bold Prediction

Not being thrusted into the starting rotation right away may be a blessing for the team’s freshman big men.

Unlike Bacot last season, Sharpe and Kessler will have the opportunity to “get their feet wet” at the college level, and will have the opportunity to continue developing as the season moves along.

Without a doubt, the opportunity is there for Day’Ron Sharpe to be a huge impact player for the UNC Basketball program this season.

Other than Brooks, the front court minutes are definitely in question. With plenty of options to work with, we’re predicting that Sharpe will emerge as the guy to get the second-most front court minutes this season.

Yes, Bacot will remain the starter, but that doesn’t mean that Williams can’t use Sharpe in a variety of ways off the bench.

If Sharpe plays at a high level off the bench, it is very possible that he could even challenge for a starting spot by season’s end.

Next. UNC Basketball: Tar Heels release 2020-2021 regular season schedule. dark

Keep an eye out for our upcoming player previews as we inch closer to the start of the 2021-2021 UNC basketball season!