Kentucky, specifically under Coach John Calipari, has made themselves notorious for the one-and-done. Constantly bringing in elite talent, sending guys into the NBA, and repeating this has become an annual tradition in Lexington. But the world of college basketball is changing. NCAA student-athletes now being able to profit off of their Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) allows players to return to college for an additional year, while still being able to make money. Players in the past that were on the fence of returning or going to the NBA almost always chose the professional route, so they could start earning money and take care of their families. But like I said, college basketball is changing and like always, Kentucky refuses to get left behind.
From the previous year's roster, Kentucky is returning SIX scholarship players: Oscar Tshiebwe, Sahvir Wheeler, Lance Ware, CJ Fredrick, Daimion Collins, and Jacob Toppin. Toppin, of course, is still testing the NBA Draft waters, and has until June 1 at 11:59 pm to withdraw, but I fully anticipate that he does and returns to Kentucky for his senior season.
With these six players, Kentucky is returning...
42.5% of their minutes
44.1% of their points
51.2% of their assists
58.2% of their rebounds (thanks Oscar)
48.9% of their steals
72.2% of their blocks
And of course, this doesn't include anything from CJ Fredrick, who didn't log a minute after suffering a season ending hamstring injury before our opening game, but would have most certainly been a key piece to our rotation.
To replace this outgoing production, Kentucky has two five-star freshmen Cason Wallace and Chris Livingston, a four-star freshman Adou Thiero, and a transfer Antonio Reeves who averaged over 20 points per game last season for Illinois State.