Sharpless on NBA’s radar

Published 9:18 pm Monday, June 24, 2013

Former Plymouth star Angelo Sharpless (left) averaged 24 points, eight rebounds and four steals per game during his senior season at Elizabeth City State University and was named the CIAA Player of the Year. (Photo Courtesy of ECSU)

Former Plymouth star Angelo Sharpless  averaged 24 points, eight rebounds and four steals per game during his senior season at Elizabeth City State University and was named the CIAA Player of the Year. (Photo Courtesy of ECSU)

The snooze button has officially been turned off. Thanks to an incredible senior year and an impressive showing this spring NBA scouts can no longer sleep on Angelo Sharpless.
After averaging 24 points, eight rebounds and four steals during his final year at Div. II Elizabeth City State University, the former Plymouth High star has used his explosive hops and incredible athleticism to jump on to the NBA’s radar and has risen into sleeper status for this Thursday’s NBA Draft.
Sharpless has been known to save his best for last as he helped the Plymouth Vikings football team capture a state championship as a senior and then led the basketball team to a 19-3 record and a sectional title en route to be named the Washington Daily News Co-Basketball Player of the Year with Mychal Parker in 2008.
This year, Sharpless’ hoops heroics led him to be crowned the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year, and the postseason honors didn’t stop there as the 6-4, 205-pounder was tabbed the Boxtorow Division II National Player of the Year.
Sharpless’ profile continued to grow this spring when he joined the ACC Barnstorming Tour where his highlight dunks have become a YouTube sensation. (Check out the one where he jumps over Duke’s seven-footer Mason Plumlee during a dunk contest).
From there, opportunity continued to knock as he was invited to the NBA Combine in Brooklyn to perform in front of several NBA scouts.
“We had a chance to play some five-on-five and I did real well,” Sharpless said. “Guys really looked at me. I was able to open some eyes there.”
He certainly did, as the New York Knicks, Charlotte Bobcats, Memphis Grizzlies, Orlando Magic, L.A. Clippers, Phoenix Suns and the Indiana Pacers each scheduled Sharpless for workouts.
At each stop Sharpless was brought in with a group of other prospects and run through a series of drills for approximately one hour. Sharpless made the most of his time and said he was not fazed by playing against some of college hoops biggest stars.
“Playing against some of these big name guys I didn’t feel threatened or nervous,” Sharpless said. “I feel like if I was a Division One player I would be one of those top names myself.”
There was no question coming out of high school that Sharpless had Div. I potential in both football and basketball. However, his work in the classroom was not as successful as  work on the court and as a result the explosive guard/forward found himself with limited options.
When asked why he chose ECSU Sharpless said, “Actually, Elizabeth City State chose me. I had gone through some academic issues and I also didn’t have the money to pay for some of the bigger schools. I don’t blame the whole process that I went through. It made me stronger and I’m happy that I went to Elizabeth City State. It doesn’t matter where you are if you’re good enough pro scouts will find you.”
It was a mature statement from someone who admittedly had some growing up to do and Sharpless credited Plymouth alum and ECSU basketball coach Shawn Walker for helping him progress.
“I matured as a person and learned how to deal with other people’s emotions,” Sharpless said. “It was a learning process for me. I also had a little bit of off the court issues that Coach Walker helped me with and my family supported me through.
“… With me (Coach Walker) didn’t want to show me favoritism just because I’m from Plymouth. He wanted me to make it just like anybody else. He taught me how to be a man.”
The growth in maturity no doubt helped him last week as Sharpless crisscrossed the country for what basically amounted to job interviews in five different states over the course of a few days beginning with the Knicks on Tuesday before flying to Charlotte, Los Angeles and Phoenix before wrapping in Indiana.
After a frenzied week of hoops, Sharpless must now take a timeout and play the waiting game. The former Plymouth star is hoping to hear his named called at some point during Thursday’s two-round NBA Draft but said he likely won’t watch the event.
“I might not watch the draft, honestly,” Sharpless said. “When the draft comes on I might just go to the gym and shoot around a little bit to keep myself from stressing.”
Should Sharpless not get drafted there is still hope that a team might invite him to camp before the start of the NBA season. If not, he said playing overseas is an option he will explore.
“I’m just going to enjoy my time and hopefully my named will get called. If not, hopefully somebody will bring me in for a tryout. I’d be happy just with that,” Sharpless said. “My agent said he has stuff lined up overseas just in case, but everybody wants to play in the NBA.”