Kerry Blackshear committing to Florida was one of the biggest stories of the summer, in part because we heard basically nothing from the Virginia Tech grad transfer’s camp during the process. Today at SEC Basketball Media Day, Blackshear — who was just voted SEC Preseason Player of the Year — opened up about the decision.
“I think the culture, the group of people that were there,” Blackshear said of why he picked the Gators. “The opportunity to play with a really good team was really enticing to me and I just built a relationship with my teammates now. During the recruiting process, I felt like they really brought me along and made me a part of their team.”
“Heavily,” Blackshear said of how much he considered going to Kentucky. “Heavily, heavily. They’re an elite program. Good coaching staff. Really great team. Great culture. Something that I really thought about.”
What was John Calipari’s pitch to the top grad transfer in the country?
“[They were] just were encouraging me, telling me that this opportunity would be life-changing and that was something I heavily considered.”
Blackshear, an Orlando native, considered five schools — Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Virginia Tech — but ultimately went with the Gators because they pursued him the hardest.
“Just my teammates, really. I talked to each one of them. They really wanted me to come. I really wanted to play with these guys because just the energy they gave me, just from a conversation on the phone, on Twitter, on Instagram, they all hit me up so I was excited.”
“I thought that I added to what they already had and I thought it was really a hand-in-glove fit,” he added.
Kentucky will face Blackshear and Florida on February 22 in Lexington and on March 7 in Gainesville.