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The "Walter Sharpe is a Piston" post

Okay, that was confusing. Out goes DJ White, in comes Walter Sharpe out of University of Alabama-Birmingham.

To be honest, I don't know much about Sharpe -- and apparently, neither does DraftExpress:

This player does not currently have a completed profile or player blog entries.

Bullets Forever has an interesting profile on Sharpe, who kicked his college career at Mississippi State in 2004-05. This guy has taken one of the oddest paths to the NBA I've ever seen:

The promise rapidly morphed into disappointment. Sharpe could never get his act together, as he had multiple issues from tardiness to academics. Despite missing a team flight to a tournament in California in December of '04, and skipping a practice, thus being left home for the NCAA tournament in March of '05, the door of chances was still open for the kid.

During Sharpe's sophomore year with the Bulldogs, he missed the beginning of the season due to academic ineligibility and only ended up dressing out six games (averaging 9.3 points and 5.0 boards) before ultimately being dismissed from the team in January of '06. Missing another practice was the final straw.

Next stop: UAB. Before even making it to UAB, Walter Sharpe was shot with a tiny bullet in the stomach in April 2006. Curiously, he tried to deny he was shot and attempted to hide his wound from police and medics. In August of 2007, Sharpe was one of five UAB Blazers arrested for disorderly conduct after a night on the town in Birmingham. UAB head coach, Mike Davis, credited the arrest with bringing his team together. No word if other college coaches have caught onto this phenomenon.

After sitting out a year and finally suiting up for the Blazers, Walter Sharpe averaged 14.2 points and 6.8 rebounds in UAB's first 12 games of the 07-08 season. However, in January of 2008, Sharpe was declared academically ineligible for the rest of the year. He was subsequently been diagnosed with narcolepsy, which has been used as an excuse for academic woes. Sharpe had hopes to receive treatment and suit up for the Blazers in 2008-2009, but for one reason or another, opted to declare for the NBA draft instead.

Not too hard to see why this guy wasn't on everybody's radar, I suppose.

Here are his college stats -- if you look at that game log, he had some huge games and some quiet ones, though I won't pretend to judge the quality of competition he faced. Also, 18 games in three years? Huh. (Edit: Sharpe played 22 games as a freshman for Mississippi State in 2004-05 -- his ESPN and Yahoo profiles don't list that for some reason -- so his college career spanned 40 games. Better than 18, but he did in four years what a lot of guys do in one.)

From Keith Langlois' live chat (hat-tip to Jim):

Keith Langlois: Walter Sharpe ... major, major sleeper. He had narcolepsy, of all things, that affected him earlier in his career. We know very little about him, except he came on very late in the draft process and is supposedly a very, very athletic player - a shot blocker. Might be a little bit like Amir Johnson. He was academically inelgible in the second half of last season and played just 18 college games. He went to Mississippi State first and then transfered to UAB.

Keith Langlois: It appears the narcolepsy Sharpe suffers from - memory lapses, excessive daytime sleeping - was only recently diagnosed. He was relieved at the diagnoses and believes it was at the root of his other problems. Sharpe was ruled academically inelgible and was arrested last fall for disorderly conduct after an argument and fight at a nightclub. He's a high-risk, high-reward type of pick. That's what fans who were screaming for DeAndre Jordan wanted.

Jesse (White Pine): Walter Sharpe worked out for the Pistons, so, presumably, he impressed the powers-that-be. He probably would have been available to us with our later second round picks, though...right?

Keith Langlois: I think the Pistons were convinced he wouldn't be. I first heard Sharpe's name mentioned last week. Heard he was really wowing people in workouts. Some mock drafts started slipping his name into second rounds.

Ah, DraftExpress has heard of Walter Sharpe (from Fennis in the comments):

-Walter Sharpe may be a surprising name called on draft night, after conducting strong workouts with teams like Cleveland, Denver, New Jersey, Washington and Charlotte, and showing surprisingly well there. Sharpe, a very highly touted member of the 2004 high school class, only played in 12 games this season before being ruled academically ineligible at UAB. He was later diagnosed with Narcolepsy (a sleeping disorder), but has numerous other red flags on his resume, including being kicked out of Mississippi State for breaking team rules, being shot in the stomach, and then later being arrested for disorderly conduct—all separate incidents.

Some team may regardless decide to take a chance on Sharpe due to his terrific combination of size, athleticism and skill playing both inside and out. One NBA Assistant General Manager told DraftExpress that he thinks Sharpe is a first round caliber talent who may not get to the middle of the second round due to the increasing buzz around him. He still has workouts to conduct with Utah, Detroit and the LA Lakers.