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What Kentucky Basketball Returns This Season

Updated: Oct 23, 2022

As a Kentucky fan, we've all learned how to embrace the fact that we get a short amount of time with these guys. It is usually just one season, and if were lucky, maybe two. Well, over the last few seasons we're starting to see a change in the landscape of college basketball, mainly because of NIL opportunities, and some players are deciding to stick around a little longer. We are a fanbase that isn't quite used to that, when our head coach was the one who went mainstream with the one-and-done system in the beginning, but we have finally gotten consecutive groups with upperclassmen for a change. Last year and this year are about as "old" as we've seen in the Calipari era and, honestly, it is exciting, whether you were cool with the "NBA pit stop" system or not.

This season, the Kentucky men's basketball team looks to return six players from last year's team to this year's squad, bringing back quite a bit of offense to help solidify another great season, with plans to alter the way this one ends compared to last year, if you're picking up what I'm putting down.

The Wildcats are returning 44.3% of their scoring production, 58.4% of their rebounding, 50% of their steals, 51.2% of their assists and 72.3% of their blocks from just a season ago.

Notable names that are back (on scholarship) include Jacob Toppin, Oscar Tshiebwe, Sahvir Wheeler, Daimion Collins, Lance Ware and CJ Fredrick. Oscar won the National Player of the Year trophy last season, Sahvir led the conference, and ranked third nationally, in assists per game (6.9), and Jacob Toppin was a viable sixth man spark off the bench, who could now find starting minutes, if need be. In addition to those three, Daimion Collins is projected to have a major "breakout" year, while having one of the highest ceilings, in terms of potential, due to his freak athleticism. I’m very confident in saying that Toppin and Collins will be on NBA rosters within the next 12-24 months. So, this team brings back quite a bit of production from last year’s squad that was poised to do some damage in the postseason, before it was unfortunately cut too short.

Paired alongside what this team returns, they also have added two top ten ranked recruits in Chris Livingston and Cason Wallace, as well as two very underrated prospects in Adou Thiero and Ugonna Onyenso. The pair came late in the signing period, and lets not to forget, they've also picked up Antonio Reeves in the transfer portal from Illinois State. Reeves averaged 20.1 points per game and ranked in the top-twenty in the nation in scoring.

There's excitement around every team each summer, but it's been as obvious as ever that this summer it seems to be a lot higher with John Calipari sort of having his back against the wall for postseason success. Fans are looking to heal that wound from last March. The season officially begins in less than 3 weeks and your Tuesday and Saturdays are officially booked up in your calendars for the near future.


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