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John Calipari looking to find the next Nate Sestina or Reid Travis on the grad transfer market

As coaches across the nation are stuck in their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic, they now must get creative when recruiting for the upcoming season and beyond.

With no in-person recruiting, coaches are now left calling and video chatting potential recruits and transfers in an effort to recruit them to their schools without taking new visits.

So where does that leave John Calipari and the Kentucky basketball program?

They’re now in the process of setting up calls and video conferences with the current roster to discuss draft decisions, 2020 signees about preparing for next season, and the coaches about filling out the 2020-21 roster.

“No travel. Making phone calls, Skype calls,” the UK head coach said in a Facebook Live video stream Monday evening. “You may wanna know what I’ve done, we did a Zoom call with last year’s team. We talked to them and gave them what we knew at that point. I’ve had two Zoom calls with the incoming players and a couple of the guys on our team that will be returning.

“We call every day as a staff, usually it’s two times a day. We’ll call once in the morning, once in the afternoon. Talk about what’s out there, what we’re hearing, anything new on our guys.”

And how do they plan on adding to close out next year’s roster? As we’ve been seeing with recent news of Kentucky establishing contact with high-profile graduate transfers, the coaching staff is searching for the next Nate Sestina or Reid Travis to come to Lexington.

“Now, with recruiting going forward, now you’re looking at, okay, who’s transferring?” Calipari said. “Can we find another Nate (Sestina)? Another Reid (Travis)? Add to what we have.”

Oddly enough, Calipari addressed the school’s interest in finding another graduate transfer just a few hours after reaching out to Purdue center Matt Haarms, a 7-foot-3, 250-pound big man native of Amsterdam.

Last season at Purdue, the talented transfer prospect averaged 8.6 points on 52.4% shooting, to go with 4.6 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks a game just a year after averaging 9.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game as a sophomore. Per 40 minutes, Haarms averaged 16.7 points (52.4% FG, 63.4% FT), 8.9 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks per contest last year.

Coincidence? I think not.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

17 Comments for John Calipari looking to find the next Nate Sestina or Reid Travis on the grad transfer market



  1. Rob
    3:26 pm April 8, 2020 Permalink

    “A couple of the guys on our team that will be returning.” Well, we know Brooks is coming back so who do think the other one is?



    • Rob
      3:40 pm April 8, 2020 Permalink

      Personally, I think it’s EJ. I know what his dad said, but surely he realizes his son could use another year and is nowhere near ready for the NBA.



    • Bluehender
      11:57 pm April 8, 2020 Permalink

      Dontae Allen



  2. Not Dan Issel
    3:37 pm April 8, 2020 Permalink

    I assume Dontae Allen



  3. Rob
    3:44 pm April 8, 2020 Permalink

    Could be, but I assumed Cal was referring to the guys who were testing the draft



  4. T-Town Cat
    5:25 pm April 8, 2020 Permalink

    My sources say Riley Welch and Brennan Canada are definitely coming back.



  5. Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert
    6:27 pm April 8, 2020 Permalink

    Wonder if he will try to sell the NBA to grad transfers, considering he hasn’t had a grad transfer play in the NBA. And I thought Cal said a few years ago that recruiting grad transfers was evil and wrong. Basically said it was one of the many tools of the devil.



    • CrystalBall
      6:37 pm April 8, 2020 Permalink

      Says almost the same thing about NBA’s draft elligible rules. But it is legal and if it can help your team why not use it.



    • Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert
      6:40 pm April 8, 2020 Permalink

      But Cal specifically called out other programs for doing it and he is now recruiting them as well. Doesn’t that make him a hypocrite? And he also recruited one(Mayes) prior to calling out other coaches/programs. I’m glad he is trying to land a top grad player or two. But it sort of makes him look bad, based on his previous stance.



    • BlueSteel
      8:01 pm April 8, 2020 Permalink

      Yep – And originally Trump said the virus was a hoax and those 15 cases would be down to 1 or 2 before we knew it…. but then reality set in so…..



    • CATS-R-Gr8
      8:54 pm April 8, 2020 Permalink

      All he’s ever meant was intentionally pulling students away. Once they’ve already decided to transfer. “All’s fair!”



  6. Catcasey1
    6:46 pm April 8, 2020 Permalink

    Cal said mid major college for those who give a sh$t



    • Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert
      6:47 pm April 8, 2020 Permalink

      Wasn’t Nate from a mid major?



    • IrishCat
      7:48 pm April 8, 2020 Permalink

      Bucknell doesn’t offer graduate programs, so Nate had to leave anyway.



    • Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert
      7:59 pm April 8, 2020 Permalink

      Good point, forgot about that. What about Julius Mays? Does Wright State offer graduate programs?



  7. sa_hunt
    10:22 pm April 8, 2020 Permalink

    Of course he’s talking about Keion and Dontai coming back, that’s all that’s we’re getting back. Also, Dontai will be a stud assuming he’s not hobbled by the leg. Also I’m lost on Jack’s coincidence comment at the bottom of the article???? What is he talking about? Coincidence that Cal was finding “another” grad transfer after talking to Haarms, meaning Haarms showed no interest OR he was interested and Cal wanted a second transfer?????