Updated: May 16
If you can't tell by the title of this post, we are approaching the middle of the offseason where news is absolutely dead and I am hungry for something, anything, surrounding our football or basketball program to talk about. So, while I have you here, let's break down the roster as of today, May 13th, 2022.
Heading into the offseason, here's what our roster looked like last year: Dontaie Allen, Keion Brooks Jr., Daimion Collins, Oscar Tshiebwe, Lance Ware, Jacob Toppin, Bryce Hopkins, Sahvir Wheeler, TyTy Washington Jr., Kellan Grady, CJ Fredrick, Davion Mintz, Shaedon Sharpe?, Kareem Watkins, Brennan Canada and Zan Payne. As we are about two months into the summer, who has moved on from Kentucky? Who plans to return? Who has said nothing yet? Let's get into it.
Dontaie Allen - Transferred to WKU
Keion Brooks Jr. - Entered name into NBA Draft, will return to college and transfer
Daimion Collins - Returning for sophomore season
Oscar Tshiebwe - Returning for senior season
Lance Ware - Returning for junior season
Jacob Toppin - Entered name into NBA Draft, will return for senior season
Bryce Hopkins - Transferred to Providence
Sahvir Wheeler - Returning for senior season
TyTy Washington Jr. - Declared for the NBA Draft, won't return to UK
Kellan Grady - Graduated
CJ Fredrick - Returning (from injury) for senior season
Davion Mintz - Graduated
Shaedon Sharpe? - Entered name into NBA Draft, has until June 1st to announce decision
Kareem Watkins - Returning as a walk-on for junior season
Brennan Canada - Returning as a walk-on for senior season
Zan Payne - Transferring, unannounced to where, very high chance it's Louisville.
Roster turnover at Kentucky isn't anything that we aren't used to. Oddly enough, this will be one of the more veteran-led teams Kentucky will have had in John Calipari's tenure, returning not only upperclassmen, but returning players who contributed a lot of minutes and stats on the floor all last season. On top of that, they are very talented players in the consensus National Player of the Year (Oscar Tshiebwe), a Bob Cousy finalist (Sahvir Wheeler) and four exceptionally talented players in Jacob Toppin, Daimion Collins, Lance Ware and sharp-shooter CJ Fredrick. If you ask me, that's a pretty solid group of guys that are definitely tournament-worthy without even considering the incoming players from our recruiting class and the transfer portal.
Speaking of incoming players and the transfer portal, who exactly did John Calipari and Co. go out and get? So far, Kentucky has three incoming recruits and one transfer for next year's roster.
Cason Wallace - 2022 Recruit
Chris Livingston - 2022 Recruit
Adou Thiero - 2022 Recruit
Antonio Reeves - Transfer
Cason Wallace: Five-star freshman from Richardson, Texas. He's a 6'4, 185-pound combo guard and top-five ranked recruit in the class. Will be one of the best players on the roster next season and will be a shock if he's here for more than one year. Recruited by Jai Lucas.
Chris Livingston: Five-star freshman from Mouth of Wilson, Virginia. He's a 6'6, 200-pound forward and a top-eleven recruit in the class. Chris should be a one and done as well, but will have a lot of competition at his position with the amount forwards we'll have on the roster. He's an elite prospect that will be at the front of the line in that group despite who we have. Recruited by Chin Coleman.
Adou Thiero: Three-star (composite) freshman from Leetsdale, Pennsylvania. He's a 6'5, 185-pound combo guard and ranked within the top 125 players in the class. Adou is a multi-year player which will be a project with a lot of upside. Adou's father, Almamy Thiero, played for Calipari at Memphis from 2002-05. His multi-year route will turn into a veteran role at some point, being the glue for teams over the next few years. May not play a whole lot in his first year. Recruited by Orlando Antigua.
Antonio Reeves: Transfer from Illinois State that averaged 20.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.5 blocks on 34.9 minutes a game. The 6'6, 185-pound guard also shot 46.9% from the field, 39% from the three and 81.8% from the free-throw line. Argued as one of the top available transfers who can score at will.
I'm not confident in saying that Kentucky is done adding players to next year's team just yet, so we'll have to see how the rest of the summer plays out. I think they'd be well off if they were done, but I don't believe they are just yet. Reminder - *rolls eyes* - we're also still on Shaedon Sharpe watch. He's entered his name into the NBA Draft, but has until June 1st to officially return to school or decide to stay in the draft. Rightfully so, our staff is planning as if he isn't going to be here and if he decides to return it will be like the cherry (a very, very good one) on top of what we already have. They don't want to find themselves in the position of planning for him to come back and then he wind up not, leaving a hole in the roster. I can't say I blame them at all.
Next year will be interesting and I couldn't be more excited. We will have extremely talented upperclassmen with some bright new faces as recruits and transfers. It will be a well balanced roster with major threats down low and a strong guard group to run the offense. Outside of adding more shooters to surround CJ, I think this team's ceiling is already very high.
When you consider the motivation fueled from last year's postseason failure, combined with John Calipari being desperate for a deep tournament run, next year could be really special if all the pieces fall in line.