Basketball Season Coverage
Jemarl Baker confirmed the news of his transfer via a press release from UK on Wednesday. He is now in the NCAA’s transfer portal with no intentions of changing his mind to come back to Lexington.
In the release announcing his departure, Baker said, “I want to thank the Big Blue Nation for supporting me during my two years at Kentucky. You are truly the best fans in the country and I’ve enjoyed my time here wearing the Blue and White.
“However, after talking with Coach Cal, the staff and my family, I feel it’s in my best interest to continue my academic and basketball career elsewhere. I’ve made life-long relationships with my brothers and the staff at Kentucky and have improved so much as a player. I’m thankful for the opportunities it’s given me to be a part of this historic program.”
Coach Cal added, “We haven’t had many players leave us but in all cases we stay in touch and continue to try to help. In Jemarl’s case, his injury in his first year and even the early part of this year set him back a little bit, but I still believe he’s an impact player who can score and defend. He’s a better defender than people give him credit for, and we knew we could play him this season in any situation because we knew he was always going to defend. I appreciate everything he did for this program. Like any kid that leaves us, I’ll be watching his career from afar. We’ll always be here for him.”
There are no restrictions on where Baker will land, although he will have to sit out a year per the NCAA’s transfer rules.
If you were unable to catch the live version of Wednesday’s Kentucky Sports Radio radio show, you can now find it online via podcast. I encourage you to do so because we had two special guests in the house, Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro, to discuss their time at Kentucky.
— What feedback did the NBA give them that sealed the deal?
— How much fun did they have in the Bahamas?
— What went wrong in the Duke game and did it change their psyche?
— What did they do in Lexington outside of basketball?
— What happened against Auburn?
— How often did Herro call himself a bucket?
All that and much more. Have a listen:
Kentucky’s Jemarl Baker is the newest name in the NCAA’s transfer portal. Friend of the program Evan Daniels broke the news via Twitter on Wednesday.
Baker made big plays late in the year during the tournament run, but with Ashton Hagans and Immanuel Quickley coming back, plus incoming five-star guard Tyrese Maxey, it’s easy to understand why he would consider other options for his redshirt sophomore season.
Baker averaged 2.3 points in 9.1 minutes per game in 2018-19, while shooting 31.0% from outside, which ranked fifth on the team.
Good luck to Jemarl wherever he ends up. My guess is it’s somewhere out west so he can be closer to home.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 17th, 2019 @ 1:00pm
Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro are about to embark on their signing tours across the Bluegrass. Here’s where you can meet them and wish them well in the NBA.
Both will stop at KSBar, Keldon on Monday night and Tyler on Wednesday night:
Pilgrim’s Insider Notes: Kentucky reaches out to graduate transfers, NBA Draft decisions, and Matthew Hurt
By Jack Pilgrim on ©April 17th, 2019 @ 12:30pm
Welcome back for another edition of Pilgrim’s Insider Notes, where we’ll be breaking down all of the chaos we’ve seen in the world of Kentucky basketball and recruiting over the last week or so. We’ve got some new graduate transfer options to take a close look at, NBA Draft decision updates, and a big announcement coming up on Friday.
Let’s dive right in.
The most significant development we have over the last 24 hours is Kentucky’s interest in Virginia Tech graduate transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. Reports surfaced late last night that the UK coaching staff had serious interest in the Hokie power forward, with KSR confirming those reports.
Blackshear, a 6-foot-10 junior out of Orlando, FL, averaged 15 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists for Virginia Tech last season. He also finished in double figures in 28 of his 35 total games, including nine double-doubles on the year. Two of his biggest performances actually came against Duke, when the Hokie forward finished with 23 points and ten rebounds in their regular season matchup, and 18 points and 16 rebounds in their NCAA Tournament matchup.
While I don’t believe a commitment is imminent in the slightest, I can confirm that there is mutual interest and the expectation is that Kentucky will receive a visit. There is also a chance Blackshear tests the NBA Draft waters, though the expectation is that he will not receive the feedback he’s hoping for and will transfer elsewhere to play next season.
This morning, Kyle Tucker of The Athletic tweeted that Blackshear’s father had not heard specifically from John Calipari or the Kentucky coaching staff, which may certainly be the case. The Virginia Tech forward only put his name in the transfer portal just a day ago, so we’re still extremely early in the process. That being said, sources tell KSR that Kentucky has absolutely sent out feelers to Blackshear’s camp and has let them know they are interested. That interest was returned.
Outside of the Blackshear news, I reported last night that Kentucky also reached out to another prominent name on the transfer market. While I can’t reveal who that player is quite yet (it’s a name you guys would know), sources tell KSR that this would be in ADDITION to Blackshear joining the fold. When I am allowed to reveal the name, you guys will be the first to know.
Source tells KSR that Kentucky has reached out to not only Blackshear, but another very interesting available player on the transfer market. In fact, UK is interested in bringing in BOTH. https://t.co/CoVj1dm56T
— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) April 17, 2019
While I can’t say who the mystery transfer is quite yet, I can tell you that it is not VMI guard and Rupp Arena legend Bubba Parham. I talked with Bubba’s mother last night, and she said that while he would likely have interest in the Cats if the opportunity presented itself, Kentucky has not reached out yet.
Parham is only a junior and will have to sit out a year no matter where he goes. While they certainly have respect for Parham’s game and believe he’s a solid player, Kentucky isn’t certain what the guard rotation will look like a year from now. They feel very confident about their position with several elite backcourt prospects in the class of 2020, and using another scholarship in this situation would be a bit of a risk.
Blackshear is the name to watch out for in the immediate future, while the other player in question is expected to take a little bit longer before narrowing down schools officially and taking visits. Whenever that may be, Kentucky will be in the conversation.
NBA Draft Decisions
This morning, Kentucky forward Keldon Johnson announced he would be keeping his name in the NBA Draft, following in the footsteps of both Tyler Herro (yesterday) and PJ Washington (last week).
When they both announced they were going to go through the process last week, they each specifically added in their press releases that they intended to keep their names in the draft if they liked the feedback they received. In fact, Johnson said specifically that he was hoping to become a lottery pick, giving fans some hope that he would slip outside that range and return to school for a sophomore season.
After realizing how much people were dissecting every word of the release, Herro was a bit more vague with his announcement, saying he was just hoping to be a “high draft pick.”
Over the weekend, they spent their time communicating with NBA teams and figuring out what pick range they would likely be falling in. Herro said this morning on KSR that teams told him he would fall in the 10-25 range, while Johnson said teams said he had a great chance of landing in the lottery.
They always wanted to leave for the NBA, and once they both got solid first round grades, it was a guarantee. As a reward, they went out and purchased an Audi RS 5 (Johnson) and a Maserati (Herro) and said goodbye to the Big Blue Nation.
Now, the only players left to decide are EJ Montgomery, Nick Richards, and Jemarl Baker (transfer).
While I do find it odd that we haven’t heard anything on those three quite yet, I do believe the most likely scenario is that all three return next year. I still think it’s possible one or both of Montgomery and Richards declare for the NBA Draft and see what they need to improve next year, but I just don’t anticipate them keeping it in there. As for a transfer, there have been rumblings about Montgomery looking at his options, but I don’t see him sitting out a year before playing elsewhere. He wants to get to the NBA as soon as possible, so I believe his two options right now are returning to school and improving with hopes of entering the draft next year, or taking a chance on himself and going the G-League league route. I like Kentucky’s chances of getting Richards back regardless.
With Baker, I heard last week that transferring to be closer to home wasn’t on his radar and that he enjoyed Lexington, but the fact that we haven’t heard a definitive announcement as of yet makes me think he’s definitely keeping his options open. If the roster stays at it is in the backcourt and he feels he can carve out a role as the go-to shooter off the bench, I think there’s a decent chance he returns. If Kentucky adds another guard via reclassification or transfer and it looks like the playing time he’s hoping for won’t be available, then I think a transfer is on the table.
According to several reports this afternoon, Baker has put his name in the transfer portal and will look to play basketball somewhere closer to home moving forward.
He said on multiple occasions throughout the season that as a California native, he’s homesick, and that certainly played a big part in his decision. Like I said above, I have heard that he genuinely enjoyed his time in Lexington and would’ve loved to stick around if his role on the team was more clear/significant going into next season. With Ashton Hagans, Tyrese Maxey, and Immanuel Quickley all set to play significant minutes, along with Kentucky also being interested in five-star combo guard RJ Hampton for 2019 (or if another solid graduate transfer opportunity presented itself), Baker saw the writing on the wall for next season. Combine that with the distance factor, and it makes sense.
Last week on the Insider Notes, I said that I felt pretty confident that Kentucky was out for 2019 five-star forward Matthew Hurt and that Duke was the likely landing spot. Then, Evan Daniels of 247 Sports came on KSR a few days later and said that while he felt good about the Blue Devils coming out on top, the Wildcats were likely No. 2 on his list and could make a push.
I have to be honest, that threw me off a bit. Admittedly, Daniels is the best in the business and his track record proves that. For him to say Kentucky still had a shot was significant to me.
After doing some more digging, I was told that Kentucky was working to put together one final visit before the decision and that they felt they could make up some ground. That visit did come together and was scheduled for Sunday, but was eventually cancelled because Hurt’s father, Rich, said they couldn’t fit in visits from all the schools trying to get one last shot at talking to his son. Instead, Hurt shut down his recruitment and will be making a decision on Friday based on what he already knows about all schools involved.
Some people have compared this situation to Kevin Knox’s recruitment a few years back. Knox was a quiet player and truly didn’t tell anyone where he was leaning, but analysts went with the buzz around Duke and North Carolina and assumed it was down to those two schools. The former five-star small forward shocked the world and chose Kentucky, telling people that no one had any idea where he was leaning and the rumors out there were false the entire time.
With this situation, though, I don’t think we’ll see a similar situation play out. In fact, I’d be shocked if Hurt’s decision is anything other than Duke. I’m told that Kansas – a longtime leader for the five-star forward – does not believe they will be the choice. North Carolina has some confidence and there has been a bit of growing buzz about the Tar Heels, but that decision would shock me, as well. Daniels thinks Kentucky is sitting at No. 2, but without them getting that final visit on Sunday, I just don’t see them jumping the consensus favorite.
I’m holding firm on my Duke pick.
Jordan Brand Classic
I will be flying out to Las Vegas tomorrow morning to see future Kentucky Wildcats Tyrese Maxey, Kahlil Whitney, and Keion Brooks Jr. in action at the Jordan Brand Classic. The big practice is scheduled for Friday morning, with Media Day festivities coming right after. If you have any questions you want me to ask them or specific recruiting updates you’re looking for while I’m out there, leave them in the comment section and I’ll make sure to get them addressed in the coming days.
While you’re at it, give me a follow on Twitter at @JackPilgrimKSR and feel free to reach out to me there about whatever questions you may have.
See you then.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 17th, 2019 @ 11:48am
Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro just wrapped up their appearance on Kentucky Sports Radio, and told Matt that even though they loved their time in Lexington, the information they received from the NBA made it impossible to pass on their dreams.
“I got the feedback from the NBA scouts and it was what I wanted,” Keldon said. “They said that I have a really good chance of going in the lottery. I’ve just gotta stay focused, stay the course, and go out there and perform.”
“Pretty much the same reason as Keldon,” Tyler said. “Just an extra few days to get the feedback from the people that really have a say in what’s going on. I heard what I wanted to hear back. Ten to 25, anywhere in that range, so I’ve really just got to work hard in the workouts and see what happens.”
Tyler wasn’t as highly ranked as Keldon coming in, so it wasn’t immediately certain he’d follow the one-and-done path; however, hours of hard work in the gym paid off, much like another four-star recruit that came to Kentucky.
“You see with Shai [Gilgeous-Alexander] last year, just how hard he worked and if you follow guys like that, you can see what it does, a year with the coaching staff and how they develop players. It was just a great time being here and I think the coaches really developed me.”
“It was amazing,” Keldon said of his time in Lexington. “I couldn’t ask for anything better with the coaches and the fans. It’s crazy. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. My main thing this year was to live it up and enjoy every bit of it. Even through the ups and downs, just enjoy it.”
We’ll have the audio of their interviews up in just a bit.
Keldon Johnson announced this morning he’s staying in the draft, meaning that his career at Kentucky is over. Let’s spend the time waiting for his interview on KSR looking back at some of his biggest moments as a Wildcat.
All of the dunks in the Bahamas
Keldon’s athleticism was on display from the start, with several rim-rattling dunks in the Bahamas:
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) August 12, 2018
It also became clear early on that Keldon is a goofball, which made him an easy target for his coaches.
While praising Reid Travis’ maturity today, Kenny Payne also teased Keldon Johnson. Fun moment pic.twitter.com/2kc0jRnFPR
— Tyler Thompson (@MrsTylerKSR) August 9, 2018
The buzzer-beater to send the Seton Hall game to overtime
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) December 8, 2018
As you know, Kentucky would go on to lose this game, but that shot was insane.
His six threes vs. Utah
One of Keldon’s three SEC Freshman of the Week honors came after his performance vs. Utah. Keldon hit a career-high six threes vs. the Utes, the most by a Kentucky player since Wenyen Gabriel in the 2018 SEC Tournament. Five of those threes came in the first half, giving us shades of Tayshaun Prince:
21 points vs. North Carolina
Ashton Hagans was the star of the North Carolina game, but Keldon was also clutch, carrying over a career shooting day vs. Utah to help beat the Tar Heels. Keldon scored 21 points off 7-11 from the floor and 4-7 from behind the arc. With the shot clock winding down, he sank this one to put the Cats up ten:
Safe to say Kentucky made efficient use of the shot clock. pic.twitter.com/KQH27PNah3
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) December 23, 2018
Big plays vs. Tennessee
After somewhat of a slow start to SEC play, Keldon Johnson came alive in Kentucky’s win over No. 1 Tennessee at Rupp Arena, hitting three threes on his way to 19 points.
Career-high 17 rebounds vs. Auburn
With Reid Travis out with a sprained knee, Kentucky needed someone to step up on the boards, and Keldon did, snagging a career-high 17 rebounds, the most by a Wildcat in an SEC game under Calipari. As Cal said afterwards, Keldon told on himself with that effort on the glass.
A huge first half vs. Ole Miss
After a disappointing performance at Tennessee, Keldon bounced back in a big way at Ole Miss. With Reid Travis still out and PJ Washington in foul trouble early on, Keldon stepped up, scoring 14 points and pulling down five rebounds in the first half. He finished with 22 points, seven boards, and three assists, his first 20-plus point outing in a month and a half.
25 points vs. Abilene Christian
With PJ Washington out, Keldon rose to the occasion in Kentucky’s first round game vs. Abilene Christian, scoring a team-high 25 points, including three threes.
That time he serenaded his teammates and reporters
My favorite memory of Keldon? That time he serenaded the Kentucky locker room after the win over Houston. His attitude is infectious, and a wonderful reminder that these players are just kids:
He also gave us some awesome facial expressions:
Best of luck, Keldon.
By Drew Franklin on ©April 17th, 2019 @ 9:06am
Keldon Johnson decided to keep his name in the NBA Draft, ending any possibility he will return to Kentucky for a sophomore season.
On Wednesday of last week, Johnson announced he would enter the draft process, but said a final decision on his future had not yet been made. That has since changed as he announced this morning that he will remain in the draft and close the book on his college basketball career.
“Big Blue Nation, thank you for my time here at Kentucky,” Johnson said. “I really enjoyed it. I had a wonderful experience. You guys made for the best year I could ever have. I really appreciate you guys taking me in as family and one of your own and supporting me through the thick and thin of the season and supporting this team.
“I want to thank my coaches: Coach Cal, Coach Barbee, Coach Robic, Coach Joel and Coach KP for just always being there for me and having my back. I want to thank my family and my friends back in South Hill (Virginia) for always being there for me when I need a hand.
“I want to let everyone know that I’ll be entering and keeping my name in the 2019 NBA Draft. Thank you, BBN.”
In Johnson’s one season at UK, he averaged 14.6 points and 5.7 rebounds, including a career-high 17 rebounds against Auburn in Rupp Arena in the regular season. He also was named SEC Freshman of the Year and was selected to the All-SEC Freshman Team and All-SEC Second Team.
“Keldon has a game that will translate well to the next level,” John Calipari said. “Of all the players in this draft, he could have one of the best transitions physically and athletically. He has all the tools you look for in a player in that league, and what makes him special is his joy for the game and his passion to get better. He improved in all phases of his game this year and will continue to grow in the NBA. I’ll miss seeing that smile he brought to the gym every day but I’m happy for Keldon as he pursues his dream.”
Most NBA mock draft projections have him slotted in the No. 18-22 pick range.
By Drew Franklin on ©April 16th, 2019 @ 11:00pm
Tyler Herro is off to the NBA after one fun season at Kentucky. He said so on Tuesday, telling the Big Blue Nation, “My hope was always to remain in the draft and begin my lifelong dream of playing in the NBA, but we wanted to be absolutely certain that taking that next step was in my best interests. After the information my family and I received, I believe that time is now and I’m ready to jump into that next stage of my life with both feet.”
Herro came to Lexington with intentions of shaking the generic “just a white kid who can shoot” label, and leaves as a versatile guard whose improvement on the defensive end is as impressive as anything he did with the ball in his hands. Herro’s time as a Wildcat gave us a breakout performance in Atlantis, 14 points per game during the season, a free throw streak that may never be matched, one of the better nicknames in the program’s history, a game-winner in the Sweet 16 and many, many more unforgettable memories.
Let’s revisit some of the fonder memories on the day we had to say goodbye…
His coming out party in the Bahamas:
When he wore the Rex Chapman jersey at Big Blue Madness:
When he dropped 24 points at Louisville:
“I just like hitting big shots against people who don’t like us.”
Tyler Herro loves to play the villain. When asked if he’d rather make a big shot at home or on the road, the Kentucky freshman didn’t hesitate.
“On the road for sure,” Herro said. “I just like hitting big shots against people who don’t like us. If they don’t like us, we don’t like them.”
The first time he called himself a bucket:
His career-high 29 against Arkansas:
The shot against Houston:
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 30, 2019
It was a pleasure watching the Bucket.
By Drew Franklin on ©April 16th, 2019 @ 9:30pm
Kerry Blackshear Jr. is a name to watch in the coming days. The former Virginia Tech big man announced he will leave Blacksburg as a graduate transfer for his final year of college basketball next season. Soon after he shared the news, ESPN ranked him as its top transfer on the market this spring.
Blackshear will probably take a glance at Kentucky as a potential landing spot, and it’s easy to think John Calipari will entertain the idea of adding him as another weapon inside. In fact, a source told KSR the two sides have already been in contact with one another about bringing Blackshear in as a grad transfer next season.
If the name Kerry Blackshear Jr. sounds familiar, it is because we have already seen him in Rupp Arena once before. He started for Virginia Tech when the Hokies gave Kentucky all it could handle in December of the 2017-18 season. Blackshear went for 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting with five rebounds in the 86-93 loss to the Cats.
Maybe we will see more of him in Rupp Arena in 2019-20?
Before you get too excited, you should know he also entered his name in the NBA Draft. He is considering all options for the next step in his basketball career.
Now that Tyler Herro is off to the NBA, he is free to begin his post-UK basketball activities. That means an exit interview with Kentucky Sports Radio, which is all set for Wednesday morning’s show.
Herro will join KSR in studio tomorrow to discuss his time at Kentucky and what’s ahead as he prepares for the league. We will ask about the highs and lows of his short career, what it means to be a bucket, and whatever else comes up along the way.
Be sure to tune in. If you can’t, we’ll post the full interview as soon as we can tomorrow afternoon.
By Aaron Torres on ©April 16th, 2019 @ 7:00pm
The lifeblood of any successful college basketball program is recruiting, and after years of mining high school basketball for the top talent, it’s a new world for Kentucky basketball as transfers are all the rage. Sure, UK will still get their share of McDonald’s All-Americans out of high school, but as Reid Travis proved this year, it’s never a bad thing to add older, more experienced players to the roster as well. If they can talk politics with the coach, even better.
Kidding on the last part (sort of) but the bottom-line is that the transfer wave is sweeping college basketball and there’s no turning back, so Kentucky might as well get involved. They have already, with two commitments in the past two years, including a commitment from Bucknell transfer Nate Sestina two weeks ago.
With Sestina in the fold, the question now is, “Who should be next?”
Virginia Tech big man Kerry Blackshear Jr. has entered the transfer portal, source told ESPN. Would be arguably the best grad transfer available.
14.9 PPG, 7.5 RPG
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) April 16, 2019
One obvious name became apparent on Tuesday, with the news that Virginia Tech forward Kerry Blackshear has entered the transfer portal. But beyond him, who else should Kentucky look at?
After watching a ton of college basketball, talking to some people around the sport, and just some good old-fashioned speculation, here are a few names they should consider pursuing.
Kerry Blackshear, forward, Virginia Tech (grad transfer)
Blackshear is this year’s version of Reid Travis, as an immediately eligible grad transfer, who has performed at the highest levels of college basketball and can, literally make an immediate contribution to whatever program he decides to commit to.
The 6’10 Blackshear has done it at the highest-level, averaging 14.9 points and 7.5 rebounds in the ACC this past season, and saved some of his best games for some of Virginia Tech’s toughest opponents. That included a monstrous 18-point, 16-rebound effort in a near-upset of Duke in the Sweet 16. Again, if you can average 15 and 7.5 in the ACC, you can play anywhere.
Blackshear just put his name in the portal on Tuesday morning, so it’s impossible to know what schools have or will be interested. But considering his success in the ACC and the fact that he’s eligible immediately, expect all the big-name schools to get involved. And yes, that will almost certainly include Kentucky.
Jordan Brown, forward/center, Nevada (sit out next year, three years of eligibility remaining)
Brown is a former McDonald’s All-American and Top 25 prospect who spent last season at Nevada. It didn’t totally work out in Year 1 for Brown with the Wolf Pack, as Eric Musselman preferred to play fifth-year seniors Trey Porter and Jordan Caroline in the front-court over a first-year player. Brown averaged just five points and three rebounds in limited minutes.
With that said, the talent is still there for the 6’11 Brown, and the buzz out of Nevada is that he improved exponentially over the back half of the year and was ready to be a major contributor next season. We’ll never know however, as Musselman is off to Arkansas, and the buzz I’m hearing is that he doesn’t plan on staying at the school to play for Steve Alford. The other buzz I heard is that once he did enter the transfer portal last week he heard from “every major program in the country,” a group that would presumably include Kentucky as well.
Should Kentucky seriously consider Brown, he could serve as a bridge to a new wave of transfers: The players who sit out for a season, develop and are ready to contribute one year down the line. Should he choose Kentucky (and it’s waaaaaay too early to speculate) he’d serve as a great practice player next year, as someone who could do battle every day with Nick Richards, E.J. Montgomery and others, before stepping into a major role in 2020-2021.
Jahvon Quinerly, guard, Villanova (sit out next year, three years eligible remaining)
To be blunt, I have no idea if Quinerly – another former McDonald’s All-American who simply didn’t work out at his previous school, Villanova – would have interest in Kentucky, or vice versa. But I actually think the pair would make a perfect fit.
Let me explain why.
Quinerly was the player who got caught up in the FBI scandal at Arizona, before he was eventually cleared of wrongdoing and ended up at Villanova. Here’s the thing that I’ve been told though: The reason he chose Arizona wasn’t over money. Instead, it was because Arizona was set to lose their entire roster (which they did this season), and he was promised that the ball would be put in his hands from Day 1 and he’d have the keys to the offense. When Arizona got in trouble with the FBI, Quinerly ended up at Villanova, a place where it’s notoriously difficult for freshmen to get on the floor. Especially at the point guard position.
That’s also why I love the fit at Kentucky. Not only would Quinerly get a season to get comfortable with UK and his staff, but he would also go to a school and play for a coach who is notoriously well-known for letting his players play through their mistakes. If you have a point guard that needs to be on the court to feel confident, there literally isn’t a better coach to play for than John Calipari.
With Ashton Hagans almost certainly gone after next season and the possibility that Tyrese Maxey (and who knows, maybe Immanuel Quickley) as well, Kentucky would have its next answer at point guard.
Sam and Joey Hauser, F, Marquette (sit out next year, one year and three years of eligibility respectively)
Of all the names to enter the transfer portal so far this off-season, the Hauser brothers were by far the most shocking. The pair averaged 14.9 and 9.7 points respectively last season at Marquette and were expected to be key components to a team that would have been ranked in the Top 5 nationally to start next season. Had they returned, Marquette would have returned their Top 7 scorers. Now, they have two major holes in the front-court.
It’s fair to ask what to make of two kids who are 1) Getting major playing time and 2) Still elect to leave a team with title aspirations (I would have my concerns) but the fact remains that both will make any team that they join in the 2020-2021 season an instant contender.
In terms of “what’s next” it’s expected to be a “Who’s Who” of big-time programs interested in them, as reigning champion Virginia has already been projected as a leader for their services. No reason to think that Kentucky can’t or won’t make a call to them as well.
By Drew Franklin on ©April 16th, 2019 @ 4:10pm
Tyler Herro closed the door on returning to Kentucky for a sophomore season. He announced via his social media channels that he will remain in this year’s NBA Draft.
“Thank you, BBN. 14 out,” he tweeted.
Thank you, BBN. 14 out. pic.twitter.com/wmXc7bjAzL
— Tyler Herro (@raf_tyler) April 16, 2019
Here is his full quote via the official release from UK:
“After exploring my options a little bit more and getting some immediate feedback, I’ve decided to remain in the draft. My hope was always to remain in the draft and begin my lifelong dream of playing in the NBA, but we wanted to be absolutely certain that taking that next step was in my best interests. After the information my family and I received, I believe that time is now and I’m ready to jump into that next stage of my life with both feet.
“This year was everything I had hoped for and more. Coach Cal and the staff challenged me to become a complete basketball player, and I truly believe I’ve done that and improved in all areas of my game. I can’t wait to take what I’ve learned to the next level.
“I have absolutely loved my time at Kentucky and I want to thank the Big Blue Nation for making a kid from Wisconsin one of your own. This place will always be a second home to me. To my teammates, thank you for pushing me every day and for always having my back. I’ll never forget the memories we made this season and I’ll bleed blue with you forever.”
Thanks for a fun year, Bucket.
Just a year after Sacha Killeya-Jones announced he would transfer from Kentucky, the former McDonald’s All-American has joined a Central European basketball academy.
Get Better Academy in the Czech Republic’s capital of Prague announced Killeya-Jones recently joined the program. Through his first nine games with the program he’s averaged 19 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.
Before crossing the pond, SKJ spent some of the 2018 season with N.C. State. In February head coach Kevin Keatts announced the forward was no longer with the program.
Best of luck to the former Wildcat in Prague.