Updated: Sep 1, 2021
Thats it. It's finally set. Like an Indiana fan still preaching that they're just as relevant as they were in the 90s, set in stone. After months of top-notch recruiting, desperately trying to figure who would work best in Kentuckys offense next season, who would return??, the roster is now getting cemented and polished as we are on the verge of fall.
John Calipari and Co. had a very successful offseason, confronting every single weakness the program dealt with in 2020-21. Kentucky went into the offseason needing to add shooters, play makers at the point, and a threating force down in the post. In order to do all of those things, Calipari needed to reach into his arsenal and use every weapon he had. The coaching staff had some changes that needed to be made, which led to the addition of Orlando Antigua and Chin Coleman in May. Kentucky wasted no time in developing their roster while filling in the holes and adding new contributors.
I've complied a dated list of Kentucky's major offseason moves to get us to where we are now.
March 29th: Kellan Grady transfers in from Davidson
May 5th: CJ Fredrick transfers in from Iowa
May 6th: Kentucky hires Orlando Antigua and Ron "Chin" Coleman
May 12th: TyTy Washington commits to Kentucky
May 17th: Sahvir Wheeler transfers in from Georgia
May 28th: Keion Brooks returns to Kentucky
July 1st: Davion Mintz returns to Kentucky
Kentuckys approach to adding more threats down low alongside Oscar Tshiebwe and Daimion Collins didn't go as planned, when they thought they had lock with Illinois star Kofi Cockburn which ended up ultimately falling through. Kentucky was in contention with Kofi and also Jalen Duren, and as recent reports say, Kentucky was told that Kofi wanted to come play here, but after a kind of 'respect' thing between the two programs, after just taking Illinios' top two coaches from their staff, they couldn't take their best player as well. I don't agree with that the least bit. This is college basketball and no mercy shall be shown. Especially after only winnings 9 games last season, Kentucky needs every piece they can get. No chances need to be taken. You know damn well that Illinois wouldn't have for one second, hesitated if the roles were reversed in their favor.
With that happening, Kentucky pushed to go all-in on Jalen Duren, one of the nations top-prospects. Well, you know how that turned out. So, Kentucky is left with their original squad in the post, of Oscar Tshiebwe, Keion Brooks, Daimion Collins and Lance Ware. Still a solid group of guys, but having either Jalen Duren or Kofi Cockburn on your roster would be an option that would be hard to turn down.. you'd think.
This is the one thing that I have chosen to negatively critique of the coaching staff moves this summer. Kentucky gambled on Kofi in hopes that (Jalen) Duren would be the final piece of this team, and they ended up with neither of the two... On the other hand, since when did a Kentucky offer become an 'option?' This use to be a school that the nations most elite players dreamed of getting to play for. What happened to that? Thats a topic for another day.
Anyways, no sense in complaining and speaking of what-ifs and what could be's, and time to be happy with how the roster actually came to be. We're now in the second week of August and this is how the team has carved out to be.
TyTy Washington (Freshman)
Sahvir Wheeler (Junior)
Davion Mintz (6th Year Senior)
Kellan Grady ( Graduate Transfer)
CJ Fredrick (Junior)
Dontaie Allen (Red-Shirt Sophomore)
Oscar Tshiebwe (Junior)
Keion Brooks (Junior)
Daimion Collins (Freshman)
Bryce Hopkins (Freshman)
Lance Ware (Sophomore)
Jacob Toppin (Junior)
For the first time since 2014-15 season, Kentucky will be nearly twelve deep. Before you freak out, I am in no way comparing this team to that team, nor am I saying were approaching a 40-0 season. I can tell you right now with full certainty that will not be the case. My point being, this team will have depth, plenty of talent, and many of options to go to if anyone gets injured or just isn't playing well. If this team can find their chemistry groove this summer, set up a rotation where we can access our shooters correctly, led by a point guard who can control an offense, things look like they will be pretty bright. Thankfully we have many pieces we can interchange as many times as we need until we find what works best.
This roster has so much potential and if they find a way to capitalize on it then you have every reason to be excited about what's to come.
Tomorrow I'll release my starting-five prediction and I would like to know what yours will be.
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