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Kentucky Basketball’s 2019-20 roster as we know it


In the past 48 hours, we’ve learned quite a bit about Kentucky’s 2019-20 roster. First, Tyler Herro and Keldon Johnson are definitely gone to the NBA, which was expected. Second, Jemarl Baker is definitely going to transfer, which wasn’t entirely unexpected, but still came as a bit of a surprise. Third, there could be another grad transfer on the way in the form of Kerry Blackshear Jr., a 6’10” junior from Virginia Tech.

It sounds like Blackshear’s going to take his time with his decision, which could still include going to the NBA Draft, but let’s go ahead and take a look at where Kentucky’s 2019-20 roster stands as of now, and how it could change in the coming weeks.

Guard: Ashton Hagans/Immanuel Quickley

Guard: Tyrese Maxey/Immanuel Quickley/Brad Calipari

Forward: Khalil Whitney/Keion Brooks/Dontaie Allen/Zan Payne

Forward: EJ Montgomery/Nate Sestina/Keion Brooks

Center: Nick Richards/EJ Montgomery

Obviously, having a sophomore Ashton Hagans and Immanuel Quickley is huge. Any kind of roster turnover is diminished by an experienced backcourt, and I’d expect Hagans and Quickley to both make considerable jumps in their sophomore years. Given his ability to score, I see Tyrese Maxey starting at the two, but Quickley backing up at both guard spots as a strong sixth man. Should Brad Calipari stay at Kentucky (remember, Cal mentioned he might transfer), he could get some time at the two as well. So, backcourt, good.

Khalil Whitney and Keion Brooks will give Calipari some interesting looks on the wing, as will Dontaie Allen if he’s healthy enough to go early in the season. On the inside, you’ve got veterans in EJ Montgomery, Nick Richards, and Nate Sestina, although I don’t believe the dust has settled on the frontcourt. As long as Leah Edmond is at Kentucky, I feel comfortable about Richards staying, but I wouldn’t rule out Montgomery testing the waters. You may scoff at that, but towards the end of the season, EJ showed a lot a lot of potential. If he returns, I think he could have a monster season and be the anchor Kentucky needs on the inside. While Nate Sestina is not Reid Travis, he should provide valuable minutes and an outside presence to keep teams honest, ala PJ Washington this season. If Kerry Blackshear Jr. does come to Kentucky, at 6’10”, 250 lbs., he could be a very important piece to the puzzle, but let’s not get too excited about that just yet.

On the recruiting front, Matthew Hurt and Jaden McDaniels are still out there, but it’s looking more and more like Hurt’s going to Duke and McDaniels to Washington. (I’d love to be wrong about that.) Five-star combo guard RJ Hampton could also reclassify to 2019, but that’s still to be determined.

As it stands, do you like your team?

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

99 responses to “Kentucky Basketball’s 2019-20 roster as we know it”

  1. RICKSVD

    They’ll be young, get your hopes up, then miss free throws and choke in the big spotlight. Oh, then leave. Rinse and repeat.

    1. Cokely53

      And duke will get every recruit and fail to make the FF and Louisville will get bounced in the first round again. Rinse and repeat.

    2. CatfaninCinci

      You’re not a UK fan.

      You’re that part of the fan base we all talk about who embarrasses us.

    3. Skooms

      Spot on catfan!

    4. jr

      There are people in the know out there that are predicting Blackshear to Ky. if he isn’t going pro. But ya never know with these guys.

    5. IndianaSucks

      I’ve read that UK hasn’t even contacted him. Hopefully, that article was misinformed.

    6. Lip Man 1

      I see eight guys there who can play. Cal needs to get one or two more who can.

      Regarding the free throw shooting, I got an e-mail from Mark Story since I had brought this up before. Mark said that in six of the last eight UK NCAA tournament losses the free throw shooting was way below par and cost them dearly.

      Those are the facts.

    7. 4everUKblue

      RICK why don’t you just end your misery, why suffer the way you do? You’d not only be doing yourself a favor but those of us who are really UK fans.

    8. syrin23

      How is he not a UK fan? Because he has observed history and predicts it will repeat itself as it ALREADY HAS, and is sick of it? You all think that accepting mediocrity some how makes you “real” fans when REAL fans have standards and they expect those standards to be met. You all are the WORST fans because you’ll be there cheering as we get bounced prematurely year after year after year while teams with a fraction of our talent take the title. You might as well be IU fans who would be happy with a Sweet Sixteen appearance every few years. Disgusting.

  2. CatfaninCinci

    We got a massive hole at the 5… Huge… YUGE!!! about the size of the black hole that was photographed last week. This team would struggle with post foul trouble.

    Guard play is solid. I would expect Hagans to jump like most year 2 Calipari PGs. Dependable threats from outside is yet again a question mark, but overall solid.

    I would expect very little if any drop off at the wings, those guys are bigger than our wings last year and will be formidable in mismatches in the post.

    If we can nail down Blackshear, we’d be as good as anyone come March. We need an anchor 5 to play ahead of Nick. I love Nick off the bench, but he’s a bit soft and that makes him prone to fouling.

    1. Cokely53

      Pretty much exactly what I said. We need a big, which blackshear would give us and shooting. The shooting I think is really going to depend on the work Hagans and Quickley put in this off season.

    2. nocode96

      People are surprisingly underestimating Blackshear. Like, he’d be humongous to get here. He’s an all American, 1st team type player

    3. IndianaSucks

      I was impressed every time I watched him play. He got game.

    4. CatfaninCinci

      I’m mostly impressed with his numbers against players like Zion. He kept VaTech in games against Duke by matching Zion in the post. You’re never going to outshine Zion, his athleticism is other-worldly, but you can do what he did. Neutralize him in the post as much as possible and force them to beat you elsewhere. Which was the recipe to beating Duke. They did it once in the season, and almost in the tournament.

    5. mashburnfan1

      How can people say we will be solid at guard play? Yes we COULD be, could even be great. But we have no idea. If they play the same or worse like Richards did as a SO then we will be bad. If they improve like a PJ did we will be great. The FR we have no idea, yes Maxey is supposed to be all that but, we should know by now, you never know how good a FR will be. Could he be a can’t miss top 5 pick, yes, he could also be a Hagans and have to come back. We will not know till Dec just like every year except 2012 when we knew we had a pretty good duo returning in TJ and Lamb to go with a solid Miller. We also knew AD would be great and MKG with that body would be very good. Well we also knew 2015 would be good but Cal ended that season.

    6. nocode96

      You do t get to use “we” mashfan. There’s no “we” in anything about you. You’re far from even the most miserable UK fans, at least bigolblue used play off his stupid trolling, you’re just s terrible person.

    7. CatfaninCinci

      Everytime I read a Mashburnfan post, I feel the urge to drive a railroad spike through my temple… Just so I can think on his level.

    8. mashburnfan1

      Noclue and cinci….as always tell me what is not true in the post. All those who bash me just don’t like the truth. They bash me but never back up the bash with any facts or even stating what was wrong with the message. 2 years ago I said in Nov thatteam had no shot and if not for the easiest bracket in NCAA history we would have been gone in round of 32, still struggled vs those bad teams to get to 16 before losing to a bad KSU team. Facts were that team had no shot. This year I did feel like we had a chance if the FR really stepped up, at least 2, but they did not as only Herro was kind of consistent. Next year is same as of now, guards will have to improve a lot, EJ can really help inside and we need 2 FR to be top 10 picks based on their play and not potential. I am real and speak it real. EJ could be a real key for us, I like his potential but until we see anything it is just potential.

    9. Righteous1

      I agree with your post mashburnfan1. I deal with reality as well, not delusional mirages like some on here with false hope. This team could add a couple of pieces and have a different outlook but I see the same thing at this moment.

    10. CatfaninCinci

      Mashburnfan, firstly, you assume there won’t be a significant jump in guard play by hiding behind the ‘potential’ and ‘could’. When Calipari has a track record that when he retains a guard in year 2, they make a significant jump in production. Notable examples, Andrew Harrison and Tyler Ulis, as well as Doron Lamb and Aaron Harrison. So, based on his track record, and based on knowing Hagans reported work ethic, we have no reason to assume he won’t make a significant jump. I expect Hagans, after a year in the offense, won’t be thinking as much, and will take the ball to the rack more rather than settling for jump shots.

      Secondly, your hatred of Calipari bleeds thru on every post and clouds your judgement. Cal didn’t blow the 2015 team. We have video proof that muliple bad calls within the final five minutes of regulation doomed our boys against Wiscy. We had that game in hand, and John Higgins turned that momentum almost ainglehandedly. I’m not one that likes to blame refereeing, however, the fact I can still remember his name almost 5 years later speaks volumes. It’s one of the most atrociously officiated games I can remember in my lifetime. But point being, you always find a way to blame Cal for things not entirely in his control. And you let that jade you into a pessimistic a-hole who can’t clearly see that this team next year has some distinct advantages. Do we have question marks? Sure. But guard play will be a strength when it’s all said and done. And only a fatalist would say otherwise.

      You think you speak real. Just because you like to be negative about everything doesn’t make you more ‘real’ than anyone else. It makes you a guy with an opinion. And you deliver incorrect opinions when it all shakes out way more often than you admit. You only post after losses. You rarely post after wins. Because you’re negative. And you love being that way.

    11. StillBP

      MashTipTurd, you contradicted yourself, let me point it out: “The FR we have no idea, yes Maxey is supposed to be all that but, we should know by now, you never know how good a FR will be.” and later “We also knew AD would be great and MKG with that body would be very good.” LOL!!!

      “How can people say we will be solid at guard play? Yes we COULD be, could even be great. But we have no idea. If they play the same or worse like Richards did as a SO then we will be bad.” and later “we knew we had a pretty good duo returning in TJ and Lamb”. So…we don’t know if our guards will improve their SO year since Richards didn’t, but we knew TJ and Lamb were a pretty good returning duo. Pretty sure we know Hagans and Quickley are a “pretty good returning duo.”

      GTFO with our idiotic opinions you call facts.

    12. CatfaninCinci

      StillBP… LOL

      Perfect recap of Mashburnfan nonsense! His ‘logic’ only makes sense to him. And to him, ‘logic’ is only good logic if it comes to the conclusion that’s Calipari is to blame for everything bad that happens. That’s his underlying motive.

    13. CatfaninCinci

      I’m refreshing every 5 minutes. Can’t wait to see if and how MonsterMash tries to recover from that sinking battleship he posted above. I’m sure it’ll be more Calipari blaming and contradictions.

    14. 4everUKblue

      Geez, mashbumKfanboy, you’re not getting any smarter. Have you not figured out that NO ONE cares what you think? You’re a total miserable loser so go ahead and join the dUKe bandwagon, they’ll love your excuses for K.

  3. Bigblueswami

    I don’t like them in the tournament. Too thin and foul prone down low. No one I trust to score when we need it.

  4. N-UR-i

    In a few years I wont remember Baker or Johnson.

    1. BTIisGay

      If homeless man’s White Chocolate (Brad) gets any playing time at the 2 we’re first round NIT team.

    2. Glock

      Amen to that! Sure hope Cal doesnt give him minutes in anything other than routs.

  5. Cokely53

    That roster has some clear holes in it but I agree that I don’t think it’s finished. An addition of Blackshear would completely change things though and make us a very good team if Whitney and Maxey are at a minimum, starter quality. I would personally also like another guard who is a good shooter for depth but I could easily see Cal rolling with a short bench which I think we could get away with as long as quickley and hagans make a decent jump. Either way I believe we are a quality big away from being great.

    1. DelrayCat

      Who is the leading scorer? Do they have a clear top dog?

    2. Cokely53

      If we were to get Blackshear, he would be our go to guy but he and Maxey would be our leading scorers depending on the night.

    3. CatfaninCinci

      Without the team being complete, it’s hard to say.

  6. DelrayCat

    That’s 9 scholarship players. Teams get 13.
    I bet he only signs 1 more guy….sigh.

    1. mm40

      Why sign guys just to use all the scholarships if they aren’t going to contribute?

    2. DelrayCat

      Injuries and misses. What happens if Allen can’t play? Or we get an injury or 2? Or another mid-season transfer? Rolling with only 9-10 guys is just playing with fire.

    3. Cokely53

      I feel like with his injuries that we should just assume Allen is out next year. ACL is a long recovery plus he would be so far behind everyone and unconditioned. Playing him this season would be unfair to him, which is why I think Cal is going for another transfer that Jack has mentioned. We need another shooter

    4. BigJohnC

      He’s been healing for months already

    5. JT919

      BigJohn, I doubt cal would burn his redshirt halfway through the season. ACL tears are usually a year even with modern medicine and he tore it in January.

    6. Glock

      Totally agree with you Delray

    7. Skooms

      6 worked fine in 2012. Lol, I know, that’s not fair to compare, but technically it did.

    8. CatfaninCinci

      Skrooms, 7… Eloy…. LOLOL!!!

  7. jim tom

    As it stands today no.

  8. Bigblue7982

    No we need blackshear and a guard.

  9. kybirdieman

    Looks like a bubble team now.

    1. Thetruthshallsetbennyfree

      They’ll still go undefeated against KY opponents like Loserville so I guess being a bubble team that doesn’t need hookers to at least be that good is a plus.

    2. kybirdieman

      So beating KY opponents is all that matters now??

  10. Han

    We’re not deep enough if we have injuries, not to mention foul trouble, which will happen with freshmen and with people playing hard defense (like Hagans). Allen could even end up being a lingering injury issue like Vanderbilt and Baker, so you can’t assume he’s healthy. We’ve got 9 guys plus Brad and Zan. That’s not enough, even if Cal was trying to save schollies for a big class next year or something, he could still add another grad transfer or 2 this year.

    We need another big man and another guard.

    1. DelrayCat

      That is still only 11. Why not use all 13 every year?

    2. Glock

      Amen Delray!

  11. VirginiaCat

    Agree that we will be weak at the 5 position. If the guards fully develop by March, that will be very helpful. Key will be Blackshear and a team that can shoot long. Does anyone have a feel for our shooting potential for next year? We have been dogged by poor 3-point shooting in recent years. Hopefully there will be improvement next year.

    1. elvislovesblue

      Keion looks like a good mid range to 3-point shooter, and a slasher. Kahlil may be more of a slasher. Those 2 should be good substitutes for Johnson and Herro, with even more size. That should help with rebounding. Maxsey is a shooter, as Quickley is. If Hagans can step up and hit his open shots at 40% from range, we should be fine from outside.

      I’m more concerned about inside. EJ and Nick and Nate are more finesse 4s, not bangers like Reid, and sometime PJ. That’s why the Blackshear transfer could be crucial.

      If we get anything out of Zan, Dontaie or Brad, that’s a bonus.

    2. JT919

      Wasn’t Zan pretty good in HS? Obviously that doesn’t always translate but it’s always good to have capable bodies in the frontcourt.

    3. Cokely53

      This is only opinion and not at all definitive or expertise in anyway but Maxey to me seems to be our only consist threat for next year. And to me even though he’s probably going to play at the 2, I see him more of a Brandon Knight type that could really succeed at the 1 paired with a solid shooter at the 2 but we don’t have one of those right now.

  12. pkwi222

    If Brad Calipari ever gets quality minutes then we are in serious trouble.

  13. eyebleedblue

    Not particularly. Hopefully not done and some exceed expectations.

  14. DelrayCat

    Are we afraid the best players won’t come here if there are returning players already here? Why not use all 13 scholarships every single year. I just don’t understand it. Every other major team (UNC, Duke, Kansas) has a bench loaded with guys. Sure a lot of them don’t play, but I bet they are all better than Zan and Brad.

  15. blueblue

    Blackshear and RJ Hampton would mean #9 for us, I really believe that.

    1. CatfaninCinci

      Could… Could mean 9.

      But you’re right. I just never discount teams playing out of their mind against us in March.

    2. Skooms

      Again spot on Catfanincincy! I know quite a few dUKe fans that said Zion AND RJ was a definite title. We saw how that worked out.

    3. JT55

      Neither one is coming.

    4. nocode96

      Source on that JT?

    5. Cokely53

      His source his him being a troll

  16. jim tom

    Any rotation that requires brad to play is in deep shot

    1. Luether

      Really deep…

  17. Glock

    Amen to that! Sure hope Cal doesnt give him minutes in anything other than routs.

  18. jim tom

    No depth and no knockdown shooters.

    1. DelrayCat

      They needed another big. Plus w/o Baker..now need a shooter…plus developing another point for the future..? Need 3 more at least….

  19. Racerr11

    Bubble team lol, top 5 and contender as always

  20. BigJohnC

    We’d be more than set with blackshear and Hampton

  21. Jiminy Crickets

    Backcourt, good? Yes the 3 guys should be good, but hoping 3 guys can cover 2 positions all year is wishful. Foul trouble, bad play, injuries, etc. We need another guard, I pray it’s only PC your counting Brad Calipari as a serious part of rotation

  22. The Professor

    Honestly, no. We had more coming back this season in a weak year and didn’t get a trophy of any kind.

  23. ChetSteadmansSalisburySteak

    Without knowing just how these kids will progress it’s tough to say, but I think this will be a good team. Not great. 3rd place finish in SEC would be appropriate. Too many unknowns but with as inconsistent as these returning players were this past year, it’s hard to have too much confidence.

  24. JT55

    No. This is not a final four caliber teams, it just isn’t.

  25. chrislarkey

    Solid team

    But I guess that’s not good enough for some so called holier than holy posters on here who criticise everything I say

    I better say this team will beat any NBA team

  26. NUM1UKFANFROMTHEVILLE

    We’re top 10 preseason with this team but need a Blackshear/Hurt/McDaniels commit from either of them. Also need a backcourt or wing shooter(another grad trans or long shot RJ reclass) then I think we’re top 3, behind Mich St. and Duke. We’ll still be in the hunt for the ship at top 10 if this is the team. My projected line up today is:

    PG:Hagans/Quickley/Maxey
    SG:Maxey/Quickley/Calipari
    SF:Whitney/Brooks/Allen
    PF:Brooks/Sestina
    C: Montgomery/Richards

    Hope we get 2 more but still like my team as Cal said! Go Cats!

    1. Cokely53

      Duke has multiple holes in their roster even if they add Hurt. They won’t be a top 2 team to start the season.

    2. JT919

      Gonzaga will be ranked higher in the preseason than duke, unless duke gets both RJ Hampton and Hurt, and even then that’s no guarantee.

    3. DelrayCat

      They need 1 guy who can play. Ideally a big (PF/C). Anything else is gravy, but they need bodies. I say take a flyer on a late blooming high school kid or two, an older grad transfer (like Blackshear), and maybe grab a transfer who will sit out a year. At least get to 12 + walkons.

    4. JT919

      DelrayCat, spot on analysis.

  27. JT55

    This is a borderline top 25 team as it stands now. Neither Hurt or RJ are coming here. Only hope is another transfer or two.

    1. nocode96

      Source JT?

    2. JT55

      My source is everyone that follows recruiting, myself included, knows Hurt to Duke is a done deal. Hampton is a very heavy Kansas lean. It’s not a secret. All we can hope for is help through the transfer market.

    3. Cokely53

      JT55 all your posts are negative. Not even on this thread. You’re clearly from another fan base just trying to stir the pot

    4. nocode96

      JT, that’s not a source, that’s an opinion. There is a difference. That same opinion was there for people like Kevin Knox too. Think and believe what you want, you may be wrong, you may be right, but you can’t speak in absolutes unless it’s already happened.

    5. JT55

      All of my posts are logical. Do I think we’re done adding to the roster? No, I don’t. But, as of right now, we need more help. I would love to add Blackshear and another experienced shot maker.

  28. BLUEVADER

    Cal is going to Land few more players. I think Cal told Baker that he has some more guards he is pursuing and will be recruited over. Cal is about to Load up!! Bkackshear, Hampton and wouldn’t doubt 1-2 more players more then likely a shooting guard. We will be stacked just wait my questions are. ( Can Cal get this team to jell?), (What will Chemistry be like?). I think anyone worried is a pansie cause Cal always get job done on the recruiting front. Can’t wait to see it all together. R.E.L.A.X.!!! We will be loaded. A line up of EJ, Brooks, Whitney, Maxey,Hagan’s, alone is going to be sickness on the hardwood!

    1. JT55

      Hampton isn’t coming here. Blackshear has given no indication he would come here either. As it stands now, this is a borderline top 25 team.

    2. nocode96

      Again, source? Hampton hasn’t decided anything yet, and Blackshear has absolutely entertained the thought for playing at UK…multiple sites and people in his camp confirmed that yesterday. That doesn’t mean he’s a 100% coming here, but he’s absolutely shown interest.

  29. sincitycat

    Go Big Blue!

  30. kuhlkat

    Can we just stop adding Brad to the conversation?
    The boy can’t play. And dont tell me he can shoot.

    1. Kindergarten Cop

      I love Cal as much as anyone. But if he plays Brad after sitting Baker and making him transfer that’s going to look pretty bad. Baker is much better than Brad and Cal wouldn’t give him minutes.

      I don’t love our team right now. But that don’t mean we can’t add 1 or 2 more players to make us a top 10 team. I think EJ is the key. If he leaves we will be struggling down low. Nick off the bench wouldn’t hurt, but he hasn’t contributed for 2 years. What makes us think he’s ready to really contribute. I just don’t think he has it. I don’t believe a team can make the final four with him playing significant minutes. IMO if a player sucks and gets one year older. Then he is usually just one year older. lol Doesn’t mean he’s going to make this huge jump.

  31. jakew60

    I would love to get a couple transfers like quinnerly who would introduce a veteran at point in 21’

  32. Cincy Cayt

    Honestly, I’m excited about this lineup. 3 good guards for 2 spots plus Brad if absolutely necessary. Then 5 wings/bigs for the remaining spots. Let’s just say Whitney/Brooks/Nate at the 3/4 spots for simplicity, then EJ and Nick at the 4/5 spots…not bad! We’ll need each of them to grow, but this lineup allows them to do that.

  33. Ez21

    Who’s gonna make 3s?

  34. Ez21

    Other than Maxey?

    1. gherald7

      Quickley, Sestina, Brooks is not known for 3s but has nice looking shot. Maybe Hagans will work on his shot and also not step on the line all the time lol

  35. CopenhagenCat

    Shooters. I wish we could get another good shooter who is consistent. Right now I just think they have guys that are fair.

  36. JDizzle14

    Nope

  37. ballplayerstu

    Maxey I consider the superstar of this class so with Hagans & Quickly coming back along with Montgomery, UK fans should be excited!