Making Sense Of The Basketball Offseason Madness
Updated: May 18, 2021
As we navigate our way through the hills of the offseason for Kentucky Basketball, things can tend to be a bit confusing with many pieces of the team being brought in and pushed out to form the 'perfect' roster for next season. I think this summer that word perfect, is emphasized a little more for the near future as in that there's no room for another repeat of the year we just had. While I firmly agree that Cal will be here till the day he retires, or decides he no longer wants to be here, if he was to result in anything close to a nine win season again the fanbase might come for his head. With that being said, I am never one to doubt John Calipari's methods in the long run, and as the landscape of college basketball is drastically changing, I know he'll adjust very soon and find his way back up the ladder.
Five days removed from the National Championship game, and plenty of offseason to go, lets see where the roster stands today:
Daimion Collins - Five-star Collins ranks as the third best Power Forward in the nation, and as the 10th overall player in the country. The 6'9 210lb big man from Atlanta, Texas, is Kentucky's lone five-star of the 2021 recruiting class, and will have the entire offense centered around here when he arrives to Lexington. After averaging 34.3 points, 14.8 rebounds, seven assists, and five blocks through just nine games, it's no wonder he's ranked as highly as he is. Without a doubt will be a major threat to the collegiate level.
Nolan Hickman - Four-star Point Guard Nolan Hickman looks to make an immediate impact at Kentucky with the departure of Devin Askew, and the rosters desperate need of attention from a true Point Guard. Hickman is ranked as the No. 3 PG in America and ranks 30th overall in the entire class. Across 23 game last season, the Wasatch Academy standout averaged 16.0 points, 3.3 assists, 2.5 rebounds, 0.9 steals, and 0.6 blocks a game. Standing at just 6'2 and 185lbs, the Utah star is looking like he'll be key piece to next years roster.
Bryce Hopkins - Four-star Power Forward Bryce Hopkins measures at 6'7 220lbs, and is the nations 9th best PF and the 38th overall player in the 2021 class. Hopkins, who was at once committed to the Louisville Cardinals for nearly 9 months, decided to decommit from the program in August of 2020, in which UK swept in just 11 days later with an offer, that Hopkins officially accepted during October. MaxPreps only has four games worth of stats entered, where he averaged 10.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.5 blocks a game.
Kellan Grady - Kellan Grady looks to become Kentuckys fourth consecutive pick from the grad-transfer market, following Reid Travis, Nate Sestina and Davion Mintz. Grady was a four-year starter at Davidson, averaging 17.1 points per game, shooting a remarkable 36.2% from the three and 45% from the field across his collegiate career. Just last season the Davidson standout went for 17.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2,4 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.3 blocks per game. He has been named either First Team All-Conference (x2) or Second Team All-Conference (x2) in every season he spent at Davidson. A shooter that lacks no confidence is what he brings to this roster.
Oscar Tshiebwe - Oscar Tshiebwe joined the Kentucky Basketball program in late January as a mid-year enrollee, but was not immediately eligible due to NCAA rules. Tshiebwe was considered a top-three choice in the transfer portal this offseason, in whom Kentucky locked up quick.
Brandon Boston Jr - Entered name into the NBA Draft, will sign with an agent (No return)
Terrence Clarke - Entered name into the NBA Draft, will sign with an agent (No return)
Isaiah Jackson - Entered name into the NBA Draft, won't sign with an agent (Could return)
Devin Askew - Transferring Schools (School not announced yet)
Cam'Ron Fletcher - Transferring Schools (School not announced yet)
Oscar Tshiebwe - Joined the roster midseason after transferring in from West Virginia, so technically he's returning, but will actually see his first true action this upcoming season.
Davion Mintz - It's beloved to be 50/50 on this situation, wether to to go pro (likely overseas) or return for a sixth year of college basketball.
Keion Brooks - Keions Dad announced that he would either go pro, or return for another season, that those were the only two options, but there have been circulating rumors that he could transfer to Indiana.
Olivier Sarr - Sarr announced that he will pursue his professional options, but still has a chance to return (not likely that happens).
So many ifs and ands left to be determined on who else will leave the team, or who else might join, but there is plenty of time left for that to play itself out since the coaching staff has been in 'offseason mode' since Kentucky lost in the SEC Tournament. The staff has been on it from the jump which will cushion them for any bumps in the road that could come.
Kentucky's 2021-21 roster is not complete yet, so stay tuned to what's to come.