John Calipari hit up the transfer portal harder than Kentucky fans are typically accustomed to, but it’s already paying off in the eyes of the media.
ESPN released its list of which programs they believe succeeded or failed in the transfer market this summer. Coming in as one of the 17 schools tabbed as “winners”, Kentucky made the cut. Here’s what staff writer Jeff Borzello had to say about the Wildcats’ offseason that saw them add Davion Mintz, Jacob Toppin, and Olivier Sarr to the roster.
Kentucky: After losing nearly everyone from last season’s rotation, John Calipari will welcome in his usual highly ranked recruiting class — but he also dipped into the transfer pool. Former Creighton point guard Davion Mintz will provide experience and depth in the backcourt, while Wake Forest transfer Olivier Sarr could be the difference between a preseason top-20 team and a preseason top-five team. The All-ACC big man was arguably the best transfer on the market this spring and is hoping for a waiver to play right away. Jacob Toppin, Obi’s brother, will sit out next season after transferring from Rhode Island.
There are still a few transfers available, but transfer season is just about finished. Who are the biggest winners and losers of the few months?
Biggest winner: Texas Tech
Biggest loser: Wichita State
The rest … https://t.co/BbBvVkC25n
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) July 16, 2020
Over the last couple of seasons, Calipari has elected to add at least one transfer to his team, usually a graduate transfer. This past offseason, he was forced to hunt even further after losing so much talent from last year’s squad. The addition of Sarr and the subsequent decision regarding his eligibility waiver is critical to Kentucky’s season, as Borzello and many others have noted. He is whats keeping the ‘Cats from competing for a title compared to an early tournament exit.
Funny enough, Wake Forest–the school Sarr transferred from–was listed as one of Borzello’s eight transfer “losers” (well, technically there were nine, as he labeled the entire Ivy league as losers). In total, the Demon Deacons lost five key players following a coaching change this past spring. Rhode Island, the school that Toppin transferred from, was actually listed as a “winner” thanks to other critical additions. Some of the other notable programs that were marked “winners” along with UK included Arkansas, Ole Miss, Lousiville, Texas Tech, and Memphis.
Mintz is the only player of the transfer trio that is currently cleared to play next season. Sarr’s decision could come any day now and Toppin has already been ruled out for the upcoming year.