Day’Ron Sharpe vs Tony Bradley

On March 24th 2021, Day’Ron Sharpe officially let us know what we were all expecting. After one year with the Tar Heels, Sharpe is declaring for the NBA Draft.

We were all expecting it, Sharpe’s draft stock was rising continuously throughout the season and after the games in early January against Notre Dame and Miami… it was becoming more inevitable.

Today the NBA Draft date was announced (July 29th) and Sharpe has been in and out of Mock Drafts over the past few months. Since Sharpe declared for the draft, Tony Bradley’s name was thrown all over UNC Twitter. He was another big-man who declared after his freshman year. But how similar are they? Let’s take a look…

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The Numbers

Day’Ron Sharpe came to the University of North Carolina as a five-star recruit from the powerhouse HS, Montverde Academy, the alma mater of; Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Cade Cunningham and more. Sharpe was selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game, Jordan Brand Classic and the Nike Hoop Summit. It’s fair to say, Sharpe came to Chapel Hill with a lot of expectation on his shoulders.

This season, Sharpe played 19.2 MPG and was behind Garrison Brooks and Armando Bacot in the rotation (that’s another story… we’re not going to debate that one today). Sharpe was a go-to option on offence when he was on the floor and did attempt 216 shots this season, the second most of a freshmen big since 2008 (only Bacot took more shots during his freshman season, but did play 200 minutes more).

Tony Bradley’s field goal attempts were 178, Bradley did only average 14.6 MPG, but the 2016/17 team obviously played more games than the current Tar Heels (the total minutes comparison was a lot closer than you think).

Bradley came to Chapel Hill as a five-star recruit, he also was a McDonald’s All-American and the fifth Tar Heel to win Mr Florida. Bradley brought high hopes and UNC fans were intrigued by this young recruit entering an established experienced team. This did mean he would play more of a supportive role off the bench.

Both Sharpe and Bradley were not the first options on their teams, but Bradley was further down the rotation in his team compared to Sharpe this year. This meant Bradley’s PPG and RPG were lower than Sharpe’s, but when he was called upon he did perform. Bradley had a better FG% and FT%, I think many fans were always expecting the worst when Day’Ron went to the line.

The 2016/17 team were National Champions, the 2020/21 team… were far from that. Bradley’s WIN% is over 0.2% higher, huge! Does that statistic help when comparing individual players? Perhaps not, but it is good to note down.

It was interesting to see that their Player Efficiency Rating were similar. Bradley may have played less of a part in the team’s rotation, nonetheless Bradley was 2nd in his team’s FG%. Sharpe was 3rd in his team.

Day’Ron Sharpe’s and Tony Bradley’s UNC Freshman Statistics

Style of Play

Sharpe’s and Bradley’s playing style were quite different. Bradley was quite light on his feet with good footwork and could comfortably shoot from the top of the key. Sharpe’s play was more aggressive and would use his power as an advantage over his opponents.

I personally liked Bradley’s footwork as a big-man, he played more of the center role and had plenty of moves to get to the basket. This didn’t always mean he was pulling the rim off, but similar to his team-mate Kennedy Meeks, footwork was a strong attribute of his.

For me, Sharpe’s dominance at times was mesmerizing. He had such power around the rim (yes, I wanted him to dunk more!), you could see his athleticism and he just DID NOT STOP! His motor is what UNC fans will keep comparing to for many years to come.

Like most North Carolina big men, they both could rebound, on the offensive glass especially. The Tar Heel way is to dominate the boards, so you would expect no different.

Tony Bradley was more of a comfortable shooter from around the key and the free-throw line, Sharpe would rather get close to the basket. Their styles of play differed quite a bit, so there is less of a comparison when it comes to this specifically.

Draft Stock

Tony Bradley and Day’Ron Sharpe, as said before, did not shine as the first option for the Tar Heels, although their credentials spoke volumes. Day’Ron Sharpe is 6ft 11 and 265 pounds with high levels of passing and rebounding ability. Tony Bradley was 6ft 11 and 240 pounds with great skill as a post-player. The potential in both of these players makes an NBA Owner’s mouth water.

Tony Bradley was selected with 28th pick in the First Round in NBA Draft 2017. Bradley at the Utah Jazz was probably seen as a development prospect, with multiple assignments in the G-League. It wasn’t until this current season that saw Bradley grab headlines, including an 18 point performance for Philadelphia 76ers. He was recently involved in a trade that sent him to the OKC Thunder, teaming up with fellow Tar Heel, Justin Jackson.

Day’Ron Sharpe has been projected late in the first round in the NBA Draft 2021. Some mock drafts I have seen him at the 19th pick, some I have seen have him as late as the 42nd pick.

The Athletic: 19th Pick
NBC Sports: 24th Pick
NBA Draft Room: 24th Pick
NBA Draft Net: Second Round
SB Nation: Second Round
Bleacher Report: Second Round

This is a hard comparison, due to the difference in style of play and their different roles within their Tar Heel teams. I hope to see Day’Ron have a great NBA career as I’m sure all the Tar Heel Nation does. I do see him spending some time in the G-League after getting drafted similar to Tony, hopefully he will get picked up in the first round as well. The potential is going to be hard to pass on.

Take a look at other play comparisons; JP Tokoto vs Leaky Black and Freshman Marcus Paige vs Freshman RJ Davis.

Where do you think Day’Ron Sharpe is going to get drafted?

Follow on Twitter at @britishtarheel and let me know where you think Day’Ron is getting drafted.

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