As you all know, the Kentucky Wildcats were a massive disappointment last season. But this year they look could, just like they always do before the season starts. But unlike most years, John Calipari built this season’s roster a bit differently. Sure, the Wildcats have another great recruiting class. They bring in three top 40 recruits, two of which are in the top 15. But the big thing is the four huge transfers he went out and got. There is also what Kentucky returns. They return 42.2% of minutes played and 41.9% of scoring from last season. That is a lot more than usual (For example, last year they brought back less than 8% of both of those). The ‘Cats look good.
The Kentucky Wildcats
First for the returners. Leading scorer Davion Mintz is back. In his first year in Lexington last season after transferring from Creighton, all Mintz did was average double-figures in scoring for the first time in his collegiate career. After missing the first nine games of last season due to a left leg injury and then having little practice, Keion Brooks Jr. had a very good season. He led the team in rebounding average and was fourth on the team in scoring. Brooks Jr. is a leader both on and off the court. Three players who averaged double-digit minutes off the bench last season. They are led by Jacob Toppin, younger brother of New York Knicks player Obi Toppin, who had a solid first year at Kentucky after coming over from Rhode Island.
Once again, Kentucky has one of the best recruiting classes in the country. This year it ranks 10th nationally. It includes two top 15 five-star recruits in PG Tyty Washington and PF Daimoin Collins. Washington has great court vision and is a good finisher at the rim. He has the ability to play at both guard spots. He has a chance to start this season. Collins should come off the bench this season, at least to start. Top 40 four-star PF Bryce Hopkins comes in too.
The four transfers that Coach Cal is bringing in though are going to have the biggest impact. All four of them have a chance to start. The best of the four is Davidson transfer, Kellan Grady. He is a good shooter, averaged over 17 PPG in each of his four seasons at Davidson, and brings tons of experience with him, having started 113 of 115 games while there. Sahvir Wheeler comes over from SEC rival Georgia. Wheeler was one of the best guards in the SEC last season. He led the conference in assists last season. He made a lot of improvements over his freshman season en route to earning All-SEC honors.
CJ Fredrick started every game the last two seasons for Iowa. He has been one of the best shooters in the country in these past two years and was the best shooter in the transfer portal. In the middle of last season, Oscar Tshiebwe decided to enter the transfer portal and leave West Virginia. He was playing well last season, but not nearly as good as his excellent freshman campaign. If he can regain that form then he will not only be one of the best big men in the SEC but one of the best big men in the country.
PF – #34 Oscar Tshiebwe (8.5 PPG/ 7.8 RPG at West Virginia)
SF – #12 Keion Brooks Jr. (10.3 PPG/ 6.8 RPG/ 1.6 APG)
G – #31 Kellan Grady (17.1 PPG/ 4.6 RPG/ 2.4 APG at Davidson)
G – #10 Davion Mintz (11.5 PPG/ 3.2 RPG/ 3.1 APG/ 1.0 SPG)
PG – #2 Sahvir Wheeler (14.0 PPG/ 3.8 RPG/ 7.4 SPG/ 1.7 SPG at Georgia)
Embed from Getty Images