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Kerry Blackshear Jr. says turning down Kentucky was “really hard”

© Michael Thomas Shroy | USATSI

© Michael Thomas Shroy | USATSI

For the entire month of June, Virginia Tech graduate transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. stole the attention from everyone in the college basketball world. With an unofficial final list of Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas A&M, along with a return to Virginia Tech on the table, the school of his choosing was going to improve immensely.

After all of the endless speculation, whispers, and rumors, Blackshear Jr. opted to stay close to home and become a Florida Gator, a decision that the 6-foot-11 forward says wasn’t easy in the slightest.

In an interview with Will Sammon of The Athletic, the newest Gator said that he understood just how many solid options were on the table for him and knew he needed to take his time in making his highly-anticipated decision.

“Ultimately, it was a tough decision, which was why I tried to take my time because everywhere presented an array of very good options,” Blackshear told The Athletic. “But I felt like coming to Florida, the place I dreamed of going to as a kid, being an Orlando guy, I felt like it was the right opportunity for me to take advantage of my last year and leave a mark in college basketball.”

In the end, it was location that outweighed all the other factors in play. With just one more season of college eligibility remaining, Blackshear said Florida offered what no other school could: the opportunity to play close to home and make a Final Four run at the same time.

“Florida offered something that no one else in my final five or six could offer,” he said, “which is the fact that they are in-state, they are close to home. That turned out to be a pretty good factor.”

And though the Gators separated themselves in the end, the former Virginia Tech forward admitted that it was difficult turning down both Kentucky and Tennessee. He knew he could help make the Wildcats the overwhelming title favorite or replace Grant Williams in the Volunteer frontcourt and build the offense around him, two impressive pitches. He even added that he was a fan of what Arkansas laid out for him, as well.

“Saying ‘no’ to Kentucky or Tennessee was really hard,” he said. “Arkansas was in the mix. So, just different options, which was why I took so long in the process. I wanted to see all angles of college basketball, and decide what was the best one-year fit for me.”

Now, instead of joining a loaded Kentucky roster this season, the UK coaching staff will have to gameplan against Blackshear either two or three times this season during SEC play.

(The Athletic)

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Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

25 Comments for Kerry Blackshear Jr. says turning down Kentucky was “really hard”



  1. TonyMontana
    2:06 pm July 5, 2019 Permalink

    I didnt want to relive this. He would’ve made a big impact imo.



  2. TomEcaster
    2:11 pm July 5, 2019 Permalink

    Don’t care. He chose to be a Gator. Does not matter why.



  3. Headhurts
    2:13 pm July 5, 2019 Permalink

    Enjoy your 1 year at home, after that chances are you won’t be back for some time.



  4. Tom Bombadil
    2:13 pm July 5, 2019 Permalink

    Very big opportunity for Nick and EJ…i cant wait to see them go up against Blackshear! Yes sir! Go Cats!#9



  5. UKinMKY
    2:15 pm July 5, 2019 Permalink

    And he’ll parlay that hometown hero shtick into going undrafted.



    • mashburnfan1
      6:45 pm July 5, 2019 Permalink

      yea he could have done like Travis and won an SEC title, Natty, developed so much under Cal and drafted in the lottery….Huh, wait…that did not happen? My mistake. kid chose to go closer to home so maybe friends and family can see more of his games, good for him if that is what he wanted. Must have been a tough choice as he did take his time.



    • UKinMKY
      8:23 pm July 5, 2019 Permalink

      Personally never thought Reid was going to get drafted at the beginning of the year, and I’ll say the same about Blackshear, you absolute mongoloid. Get your garbage posts off this website.



  6. Trey
    2:17 pm July 5, 2019 Permalink

    Now it’s just time to kick his ass on the court! We WILL most definitely do so too! Stay close to home as a grad transfer? Grow a pair KB!



  7. sincitycat
    2:19 pm July 5, 2019 Permalink

    I respect his decision. Next man up!



  8. Smyrna_Cat
    2:52 pm July 5, 2019 Permalink

    I hope this is the last Blackshear blurb until we play Florida.



  9. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
    2:59 pm July 5, 2019 Permalink

    Hey, I have no problem with that. Lots of Cat fans complain about bball players being mamma’s boys when they want to stay home, but if he loves his family, that’s great. Lots of folks don’t have family, or don’t have family who loves them, so I don’t do the “cut the apron strings mamma’s boy!” thing like some fans.

    One reason I say this also is I didn’t know until yesterday (or this morning) that J-Lo actually showed up at UK and told Hal Mumme he wanted to play for him. He was BBN through and through even though he probably could have played at some “football” schools, and national guys like SVP have said this week he was BBN all the way, and that made me love him even more.



    • kydrummer
      6:03 pm July 5, 2019 Permalink

      Agree



  10. KYCat4EVER
    3:43 pm July 5, 2019 Permalink

    If he’s not smart enough to see the difference between Florida State and Kentucky… he made the right decision for himself and Kentucky!



    • mashman 93
      6:17 pm July 5, 2019 Permalink

      I think you mean Florida. Hopefully the next time we hear about Kerry Blackshear is after we beat the hell out of Florida next season. Twice!!! GO CATS!



  11. bruce122767
    4:02 pm July 5, 2019 Permalink

    But he did turn Kentucky down and why is irrelevant.



  12. VirginiaCat
    4:13 pm July 5, 2019 Permalink

    While I understand his decision to play close to home, I believe that Kentucky had the strongest argument. I can’t shake the feeling that we had the winning hand, we just didn’t play our cards to full advantage. It probably didn’t help that Cal jetted off to the NBA draft instead of sticking around a bit longer to close the deal.



  13. BUCats
    6:04 pm July 5, 2019 Permalink

    Read the whole quote and UT was mentioned as well. Is it really hard to turn down the Vols?



    • mashburnfan1
      6:42 pm July 5, 2019 Permalink

      They beat our All-American 5 star team twice last year. Amazes me when people bash other teams that just beat us. Hey lets make fun of dUKe, they only beat us by 34. Make fun of Pearl but guess who knocked us out with far less talent. Now you try to make fun of UT who just beat us twice. Lets make fun of U6, we own them.



    • UKinMKY
      8:24 pm July 5, 2019 Permalink

      And that team is ALL GONE, you absolute mongoloid.



  14. Bluehender
    6:48 pm July 5, 2019 Permalink

    Maybe Cal was getting a little tired of stroking the boy VC. At some point you have to let them make their decision. I think the coaching staff knows what they’re doing. They made their presentation. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink..



    • VirginiaCat
      8:33 pm July 5, 2019 Permalink

      The top horses are drinking elsewhere and have been for several years now.



  15. dcforuk
    11:59 am July 6, 2019 Permalink

    VC, it really does not matter what you think, what I think or what anyone else thinks. What matters is what the evidence says:

    247 Sports Rankings:

    2019 – 2nd
    2018 – 2nd
    2017 – 2nd
    2016 – 2nd
    2015 – 1st
    2014 – 2nd
    2013 – 1st
    2012 – 1st
    2011 – 1st
    2010 – 1st

    Before you complain about how many classes were first and when, think about how foolish those words would be. Are you dissatisfied with classes ranked second? If so, go cheer for the Cavs, be it college or Pro.



    • njcat54
      5:46 pm July 6, 2019 Permalink

      Cal had the #1 class 5 of his first 6 years. Duke has had the #1 class 5 of the last six years.

      When you’re trying to win championships with freshmen you need the #1 class. Cal has only made 1 final four without the no.1 class (2014) and that took several miracle finishes over arguably better teams. No final fours the past 4 years. The evidence is clear that until Cal starts getting top 5 players he’s going to have a very difficult time winning a championship.

      If the NBA starts taking the top 10-15 players out of HS, Cal may have better success.



    • dcforuk
      5:59 pm July 6, 2019 Permalink

      I do not agree. 2017 and 2019 were a basket and an OT away from the FF.