Kentucky will certainly be fine on the wing in the 2019-2020 season and unless everyone darts the backcourt shouldn’t be an issue, but the big question about the future of Kentucky basketball centers around the frontcourt.
The Cats will lose Reid Travis and it will be shocking if P.J. Washington doesn’t stay in the NBA Draft this year. Part of the reason E.J. Montgomery committed to Kentucky was to be a one-and-done player and NBA teams will likely love Nick Richards’ size and potential. It’s unclear if any frontcourt player will return for the 2019-2020 season. UK has offered Vernon Carey Jr., James Wiseman and Matthew Hurt in the 2019 class, but despite UK being in a decent spot for all three players it’s unclear if the Cats are the leader in their recruitments.
UK briefly reached out to Armando Bacot Jr. but it was too little, too late. Kentucky has shown interest in Jaden McDaneils but he’s not a power forward or center.
So, with the frontcourt being such an area of need for next season the Cats remain interested in four-star center Oscar Tshiebwe. Tshiebwe is ranked No. 56 on 247 and No. 45 on Rivals, but will likely continue to rise in the rankings after a strong finish to his summer AAU career. Tshiebwe made waves after scoring 24 points and 13 rebounds going against James Wiseman in front of John Calipari in the final live session.
Tshiebwe plays for Kennedy Catholic in Hermitage, Pa. and his final eight includes West Virginia, Baylor, Georgetown, Illinois, Kansas, Ole Miss, Virginia and Kentucky. The Cats are the only school not to offer. West Virginia is considered the favorite at this point, but who knows if an offer from UK could change things. He’s looking to make a final decision in a few months.
“Coach Cal has been very hands-on with Oscar in recent weeks,” his ITPS Wildcats AAU coach Tom Droney told Chris Fischer of CatsPause (read the entire story here). “They’re extremely interested. They want to find a way to get him on campus for a visit and that’s been discussed. Obviously, they’re recruiting James Wiseman and Vernon Carey so there’s something to be said for that but if they get him on campus there’s potential for a scholarship.”
— Terry Grossetti Jr. (@TerryGrossetti) August 8, 2018