Updated: Oct 20
Kentucky exploited the transfer market this offseason to bring in a supporting cast to help their incoming freshman and returning players make a run at number nine.
They cashed in on three transfers in CJ Fredrick (Iowa), Kellan Grady (Davidson) and Sahvir Wheeler (Georgia). Four if you count Oscar Tshiebwe (West Virginia), although he was a midseason transfer last year but just couldn't play due to eligibility issues and sat on on the bench for the second half of the season.
Sahvir Wheeler has been tabbed to the preseason All-SEC Team, respectfully so. The Georgia transfer led the SEC in assists per game last year, and was also fifth in the country in his assists average per game. It is no wonder he has earned this preseason award, and clearly has big things expected out of him to come.
All-SEC First Team
Jaden Shackelford – Alabama
Jahvon Quinerly – Alabama
Colin Castleton – Florida
Sahvir Wheeler – Kentucky
Iverson Molinar – Mississippi State
Scotty Pippen Jr. – Vanderbilt
Kentucky's Keion Brooks, Kellan Grady and Oscar Tshiebwe were all named to the preseason All-SEC Second Team
All-SEC Second Team
Davonte Davis – Arkansas
Jabari Smith – Auburn
Keion Brooks Jr. – Kentucky
Kellan Grady – Kentucky
Oscar Tshiebwe – Kentucky
Darius Days – LSU
Brooks is one of UK's leading returning scorers and is the top returning rebounder from the 2020-21 season. He averaged a career-high 10.3 points per game and had the highest rebounding average of 6.8 per game on the team despite missing the first nine games of the season with an injury. Brooks reached double-figure scoring in 11 of his 16 appearances and posted his first two career double-doubles.
He had 16 points, eight rebounds and three assists at Ole Miss, and logged 10 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in the upset win at No. 19/20 Tennessee. Other season highlights for Brooks included grabbing nine boards, dishing out a career-high five assists and blocking a career-best four shots at Vanderbilt, scoring a career-high 23 points and snaring 11 rebounds in the first meeting with Tennessee. Brooks began his sophomore campaign at Florida with 12 points, six rebounds and four assists in a double-digit victory.
Brooks has played in 47 games with nine starts over his first two seasons with Kentucky. He's averaging 6.4 points per game and 4.4 rebounds for his career. On 16 occasions he's reached double-figure scoring throughout his career.
Grady was a prolific scorer at Davidson who scored 2,002 career points on 47.2% career shooting. With 240 career 3-pointers, Grady has made at least 51 treys in all four seasons and shot a career-best 38.2% from behind the arc in 2020-21. He has 21 games with at least four 3-pointers. Grady reached the 2,000-point milestone in Davidson's final game of 2020-21 and was the sixth player in program history to achieve the mark.
The Boston native has been one of the Atlantic 10's best players from the very start of his college career. Grady is a four-time All-A-10 selection, including a two-time first-team pick. He won A-10 Player of the Week five times in his Davidson career in addition to five A-10 Rookie of the Week honors in his breakthrough 2017-18 campaign. Grady was named in A-10 Rookie of the Year that season.
Grady averaged 17.4 points in his time at Davidson, scoring 18.0 points per game his freshman season, 17.3 as a sophomore, 17.2 as a junior and 17.1 this past season. With an ability to play either guard position, Grady averaged 4.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game in 2020-21. He has scored in double figures 96 times in his career, 20 or more points 44 times and 30 or more six times. His career high is 39 points, set his freshman season.
Tshiebwe was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team and was a unanimous selection to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team. He also made the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team, the National Association of Basketball Coaches District 8 First Team, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association District II Team and the Academic Big 12 All-Rookie Team.
The Congo native scored in double figures in a team-high 19 games and posted 10 double-doubles. He was first in the Big 12 in offensive rebounds per game with 4.1, second in rebounding and led the country in offensive rebounding percentage (19.0%)
Tshiebwe was off to another solid start this season, averaging 8.5 points on 52.3% shooting in addition to 7.8 rebounds prior to his midseason transfer to Kentucky. Tshiebwe spent the 2021 spring semester with the Wildcats. He practiced with the team but was not eligible to appear in any games.