It’s already been a big day for Kentucky’s 2019-20 roster thanks to EJ Montgomery’s decision to return for a sophomore season, and the night is far from over. Kerry Blackshear just made things even more interesting.
The Virginia Tech grad transfer just announced he has withdrawn from the NBA Draft, meaning he’ll be eligible to compete on the collegiate level next season. Blackshear made the announcement on Instagram.
“After taking the time to weigh my options, I have decided to withdraw my name from the NBA Draft. I am still evaluating my options for my last year of eligibility and feel extremely fortunate to be in the position that I am in. I look forward to continuing my education and earning a Master’s degree while competing in the sport that I love as I continue working toward my goal of playing professionally.”
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Blackshear, listed at 6-foot-10 and 250 pounds, was a second team All-ACC selection last season, averaging 14.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. He also led the Hokies with 28 blocked shots and ranked third with 83 assists. He entered his name into the NCAA Transfer Portal after Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams left for the Texas A&M job, and ESPN named him the No. 1 ranked college basketball transfer on the market.
Several insiders predicted Blackshear would leave his name in the Draft or even try his hand at the G League, even though he wasn’t one of the players invited to this year’s NBA Combine. On the other hand, Blackshear was high on Kentucky’s list after announcing his decision to transfer, and the UK staff met with him right away. At one point, Kentucky even seemed like the favorite in the grad transfer’s recruitment. Now, could a Montgomery-Richards-Sestina front court hurt the Cats’ chances?
It’s important to acknowledge his decision to withdraw from the Draft does not necessarily mean Blackshear is heading to Lexington, as he clearly states he’s still evaluating his options. Other contenders include Florida, Gonzaga, Michigan State, Tennessee and Texas A&M, or he could decide to return to Virginia Tech. However, with the NBA officially out of the picture, he could be Kentucky’s to lose.