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Keeping Up With Kentucky: How The 2018-19 Roster Looks Now

The University of Kentucky men’s basketball photo day on September 11, 2017. Silhouette Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

It’s nearly impossible to keep up with the happenings within the Kentucky basketball roster these days, but let’s take a moment to look at how it stands right now.

Read this quickly before it changes again.


Gone (and not coming back)

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (NBA) — Gilgeous-Alexander went from underrated recruit to projected lottery pick, so he had to go.
Kevin Knox (NBA) — Knox considered a comeback, but ultimately decided it was time to pursue his dream of playing in the NBA.
Sacha Killeya-Jones (Transfer) — Killeya-Jones announced he will seek other opportunities outside of Kentucky for his final two seasons of college basketball.
Tai Wynyard (Transfer) — After a troubled sophomore season in which he played only 54 minutes, Wynyard decided to leave the program.
Dillon Pulliam (Graduating) — Pulliam, a walk-on, will graduate with honors this spring and pursue a master’s degree at Carnegie Mellon

Testing NBA Waters

PJ Washington — Washington threw his name into the draft mix, but did not hire an agent. He reportedly wants to leave, but needs some positive feedback to make the jump.


Jemarl Baker — Barring an unforeseen transfer, Jemarl Baker will be back in Lexington to finally suit up for the Cats after missing his entire freshman year with an injury.
Nick Richards — Richards will be back for a sophomore season.
Brad Calipari — Coach Cal’s baby boy will be back for his junior year, but will it be his last? He’s on pace to graduate next May.
Jonny David — David will be the old man next year as the team’s only senior, and as it stands now, the team’s only walk-on.


Hamidou Diallo — Diallo still has not made up his mind on whether or not he should try his hand at the NBA a second time. ESPN has him as the No. 34 prospect, and he’s considered a second-round pick in most mock drafts.
Jarred Vanderbilt — Vanderbilt wants to leave, but with an injury-riddled freshman year, he may not have a choice but to come back. Postseason surgery could keep him out of any pre-draft workouts, should he decide to test the waters.
Wenyen Gabriel — Wenyen Gabriel needs only one more year to graduate, but he may go ahead and start making money professionally to provide for his family; however, it’s unlikely the NBA is an option, so he’d have to settle for the G-League or overseas.

Transfer Watch

Quade Green — Until this past week, it seemed Quade Green would certainly be back for a sophomore year. But as John Calipari tries to add more five-star point guards to next season’s roster, one would think he will at least consider a transfer. Only Green knows what he is thinking right now, though.

Incoming Freshmen

Keldon Johnson — Johnson is the highest-ranked incoming prospect and a probable starter on the wing. You’re going to love him.
Immanuel Quickley — Quickley was Calipari’s top point guard target in the 2018 class and it was assumed he would be the next star point guard in a long line of star point guards once he arrived on campus. But the recruiting strategy to add more guards suggests Calipari isn’t completely convinced Quickley is ready to take over in his freshman season, despite being the No. 3 point guard in this class.
Tyler Herro — Tyler Herro is the only incoming freshman who wasn’t named a McDonald’s All-American, but after averaging over 30 points per game his senior year, he’s looking like a player who is ready to come in and score right away. Zion Williamson called him the most underrated recruit in the class.
EJ Montgomery — EJ Montgomery is the newest name on the roster, considering it hasn’t been a full week since he committed to Kentucky over Duke. He’s a five-star power forward who says he models his game after Anthony Davis.

2019 Stars Who Could Reclassify

Ashton Hagans — Hagans, who committed to Kentucky earlier this week, is the top-ranked point guard in the 2019 class, and the speculation around him is he will reclassify and play next year. A former Georgia commit, Hagans is excited to play for John Calipari and he is taking the necessary classes to be able to attend UK next fall, should he choose to go that route.
Tyrese Maxey — Maxey has not committed to Kentucky, but a commitment could come soon. The No. 2 point guard behind Hagans in the 2019 class, Maxey is considering the same option to reclassify and join something special in Lexington next fall, as Calipari put it to him in a recent visit.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

33 Comments for Keeping Up With Kentucky: How The 2018-19 Roster Looks Now

  1. runningunnin.454
    1:18 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

    I’ll let you keep up with the roster, Drew…I’m getting dizzy.

  2. Kernel Sanders
    1:30 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

    Is Vanderbilt having off season surgery? If so, why would he not have had it immediately following the season to either be recovered in time for NBA workouts, or summer workouts at UK if he’s coming back? Or am I really out of the loop and he’s already had surgery since season’s end?

    • Ridge Runner
      1:49 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

      You bring up a good point in general to me and that is yet again there isn’t any news on his health. It’s like the most off radar subject I can recall other than he doesn’t play much.

  3. bosch8184
    1:41 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

    Vanderbilt clearly never wanted to be at UK in the first place. Which is too bad because despite his lack of basic basketball skills he would have been a dominate college player for a couple of years.

    Who is ready for a whole new team?

    • Han
      1:53 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

      I remember back when I went to a college I never wanted to be at. It was strange, making the decision to go there and then attending classes, but other people say I didn’t want to be there, so those other people must be right.

      Diallo and Vanderbilt both played for us this season, so maybe you all can let that BS trolling go.

    • Mathlete
      2:23 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

      Bosch clearly never wanted to be in the KSR comments section in the first place. Which is too bad because despite his lack of grammar skills he would have been a solid contributor for a couple of posts.

    • ClutchCargo
      3:26 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

      Mathlete, you lost me at “solid contributor,” but I see what you did there.

    • Mathlete
      3:31 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

      @Clutch – well I couldn’t say he’d be a “dominate” contributor, now could I

  4. Han
    1:51 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

    Very unlikely, but it’s amusingly ridiculous that we could have 4 scholarship PGs on the roster next year, with 3 of them being 3 of the top 5 PG in the 2018 class (if both reclassify).

  5. sbueck
    2:22 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

    If both Vanderbilt, Washington and Gabriel all leave it will be a brutal year, I don’t care how many great PGs show up.

    Maybe SKJ can change his mind and stay if 2 or 3 of these guys leave?

    • UK Big Board Update
      2:31 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

      But they haven’t, as of today. Calm down.

  6. TJY
    2:27 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

    Give me PJ and a healthy Vando and let the rest of the chips fall where they may. I can’t imagine how good both can be with another summer under KP and Cal.

  7. Duff86
    2:42 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

    Diallo could benefit from another season. He’s still trying to figure his game out and he just started to come on during the tourney. Another full season of what he did during the tournament and he’s a first rounder for sure.

    Washing could benefit by coming back to add some consistency to his game, much like he had at the beginning and end of the season. If he can keep it up for an entire season, he’s a definite first rounder.

    Vando could go to the NBA now and be just fine, although injury may dictate otherwise. He’s raw but has an extremely high ceiling. Hope he stays and improves his stock.

  8. taylorsvillecat
    2:53 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

    C’mon back, Washington, Vando and Gabriel!

  9. Jiminy Crickets
    2:55 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

    Who had the ticket that an entire roster of freshman, who went to sweet 16 could potentially only return one player (Nick)??
    Most of plus woulda said 2, at most 3 would leave, now we’re saying possibly only 2-3 come back. Crazy.

    • makeitstop
      3:07 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

      It is crazy, which is why it isn’t going to happen. Washington is doing what they all do, getting feedback and going through the motions. He’s not going to be drafted anywhere near the first round, his dad is a coach, he knows he needs another year or maybe 2. Richards will be back. Quade isn’t going anywhere, before people annoint the high school juniors who may reclassify as starters he’ll put his experience and his effort into getting better and probably starting. And Vando might go but how? He played 14 games or about a month in NBA years. He can’t workout at the combine as far as we can tell. Hami, yea probably goes but he’s the guy who would be the most awkward fit next year. What’s happening is in the abscence of news they just run the same story over and over and work everyone into either a panic or frenzy. Am I right or wrong?

    • WatchutalkinboutWillis
      3:26 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

      Totally agree with makeitstop.

    • henderblue
      5:46 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

      Yes. I think he’s on to something

    • ClutchCargo
      3:30 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

      People are getting confused with the “testing the waters and undecided” categories, thinking they are gone. You could maybe say that Washington is gone until he comes back, but the others are still here as of now.

    • makeitstop
      3:33 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

      And I forgot Baker. He’s back, and SGA says he’s got a good game.

    • makeitstop
      3:36 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

      I agree Clutch – it’s like the PSAT for these guys. Go take the test, get comfortable and ace it for real next year. Apart from the obvious distraction from school I can’t imagine anyone who wants to go in a year or so not putting their name in and going to the combine unless they thought it would hurt them, like Vando may feel bc of some mysterious injury.

  10. humboldt24
    2:59 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

    What about the Assistants? Any news on if Barbee is coming back?

    • makeitstop
      3:11 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

      that’s a good question – we know KP is and has been recruiting. Joel www recruiting according to a post a couple days ago, but has anyone seen Barbee mentioned on recruiting trips? I can’t recall one but there may have been. If not that may be a clue. U don’t send the sales guy u may lose to see new clients.

  11. WatchutalkinboutWillis
    3:09 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

    I’m not sure Drew should say that PJ and Vanderbilt want to leave. I’m sure it is much more complicated than that and that phrasing gives fans a bad taste. Perpetuating a negative stereotype. Instead the truth may be that they love UK but if they have the chance to make millions they may take it.

    • makeitstop
      3:14 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

      Exactly! Like saying “some guys want a high paying job but may not be able to get one until next year.” Ok. Makes them rational, not disloyal or even greedy.

      4:05 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

      Yep…along the same lines as my comment below. If someone can confirm that a kid really does “want to leave”, as in they used those exact words, in the assumed context of “I don’t like it here, and/or I hate school”…then they definitely need to be told their options, then shown the door. But it that’s NOT the case, it’s extremely bad journalism, and UK and Cal needs to take KSR to task over it.

  12. WatchutalkinboutWillis
    3:14 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

    I really think Cal wants to build a roster that plays 3 guards who can dribble, pass, and shoot, 1 large wing, and one big.

    4:02 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

    I 100% understand a kid leaving, or just wanting to leave, if they’re a guaranteed lottery pick. I’m even 100% behind a kid just saying he wants to “test the Draft waters” and get some feedback…maybe even workout at the NBA combine. But when I hear/read a kid “wants to leave”, even though no NBA teams, scouts, or lottery projections mention their names….I say, tell them to transfer or announce for the G-League like the Syracuse recruit did. The LAST thing Cal, UK, and the fans need or want, is kids who literally do not want to be here.

  14. plumloopy
    4:50 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

    Really? Out of all the players last year, none are graduating yet we’re only sure that ONE guy who played significant minutes will stay?

    • ClutchCargo
      5:25 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

      You are free to assume that they are all coming back except the 4 who have said they are definitely leaving. Pretty simple, actually.

  15. wyatts1
    6:07 pm April 12, 2018 Permalink

    Both PJ, and vando WANTS to leave?? Wtf
    I understand wanting to go to the NBA, but I don’t understand them “”wanting to leave” after one year. I love both of their games (especially vando) but are they really so high on themselves and low on UK that they WANT to leave?? Truly not ready for the NBA so as of now why would they wanna leave? I’m missing something somewhere something simple I hope and not nothing bad.

    • UK Big Board Update
      10:05 am April 13, 2018 Permalink

      Newsflash: 98% of DIV I basketball players WANT to leave college and go to the NBA.

      The reality is, only 1% have the chance to. PJ and Vando both know they have that chance.