LEXINGTON — Roster turnover is nothing new for Kentucky basketball.
John Calipari’s tenure in Lexington has been characterized by an annual overhaul of the Wildcat roster with defections to the NBA draft. The NCAA’s adoption of a one-time free transfer for most athletes has only added to that churn.
Two departures were assured with super senior guards Davion Mintz and Kellan Grady exhausting their college eligibility, but more have already followed. Bookmark this page to keep track of the movement on Kentucky’s 2022-23 roster throughout the offseason.
Which Kentucky basketball players are in the transfer portal?
G Dontaie Allen (6-foot-6, 205 pounds, So.) | After playing in 18 of 34 games for Kentucky this season, the former Mr. Kentucky Basketball from Pendleton County elected to look elsewhere for more minutes. On April 13, Allen announced he had signed with Western Kentucky University.
F Keion Brooks (6-foot-7, 210 pounds, Jr.) | Last season’s veteran leader entered the portal while testing the draft waters. Brooks, who was not projected to be picked in the 2022 draft, removed his name from the draft pool before the June 1 deadline then began focusing on other college options. On June 6, he committed to Washington.
F Bryce Hopkins (6-foot-6, 220 pounds, Fr.) | After Hopkins totaled 13 points in 16 minutes in a Feb. 23 win over LSU, Calipari insisted the Illinois native had forced his way into a larger role. Instead, Hopkins played just seven total minutes in the final six games before placing his name in the transfer portal. On April 25, Hopkins announced he had committed to Providence.
G/F Zan Payne (6-foot-4, 215 pounds, Jr.) | Perhaps the least surprising transfer of the entire cycle, Kentucky’s walk-on wing placed his name in the portal shortly before the May 1 deadline. He almost certainly now will become the first player since Marvin Stone (2002) to transfer from Kentucky to arch rival Louisville, where his father, Kenny Payne, was recently hired as coach. Payne appeared in 11 games across four years at UK.
Which Kentucky basketball players have entered the NBA draft?
G TyTy Washington (6-foot-3, 197 pounds, Fr.) | Injuries derailed the end of a promising freshman season for Washington, but the late-season slump was not enough to prevent the former five-star recruit from declaring for the draft and ending his college eligibility. Washington is projected as a likely lottery pick in June’s draft.
G Shaedon Sharpe (6-foot-6, 200 pounds, Fr.) | The former No. 1-ranked prospect in the high school class of 2022, Sharpe graduated early to enroll at UK in January and practice with the team. Even after it became clear he was eligible for the 2022 draft, Sharpe did not play in games for Kentucky. On April 21, Sharpe announced he was declaring for the draft while maintaining his college eligibility, hours after two national reports that he would start an NBA career without ever playing for Kentucky. On May 31, Sharpe, who is projected as a top-10 pick in June, confirmed he would start a professional career without every playing for Kentucky.
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Which Kentucky basketball players are planning to return to school?
F Daimion Collins (6-foot-9, 202 pounds, Fr.) | 247Sports reported early in the offseason that Collins was planning to return to Kentucky, but he did not confirm that decision publicly until April 23 when he tweeted a graphic with the caption “let’s run it back.” On his final radio show of the season, Calipari said if Collins does come back to Kentucky and puts in the work adding muscle to his slim frame this offseason, “he becomes one of the best players in the country.” The former five-star recruit averaged 2.9 points and two rebounds in 7.4 minutes per game.
G C.J. Fredrick (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) | Fredrick will have to wait a year longer than planned to make his Kentucky debut after missing the entire 2021-22 season with a hamstring injury. When healthy, Fredrick has proven to be one of the most effective 3-point shooters in the country. He converted 46.6% (83 for 178) of his 3-point attempts in two seasons at Iowa before transferring to Kentucky. Fredrick also has experience at Rupp Arena, leading Covington Catholic to the 2018 state title. On April 16, Fredrick tweeted a video of him going through a workout with the caption, “Back at it, BBN… 22-23 soon.”
F Jacob Toppin (6-foot-9, 200 pounds, Jr.) | The younger brother of New York Knicks forward Obi Toppin, Jacob tested the NBA draft waters to garner feedback on areas to focus on improving but announced he was returning to Kentucky on the even of the college deadline to leave the draft. With Brooks likely leaving, Toppin is the early favorite to takeover the starting spot at the four, though he faces competition from Collins for that role.
F Oscar Tshiebwe (6-foot-9, 255 pounds, Jr.) | With his Feb. 20 announcement, Tshiebwe became just the third underclassman to sweep the major National Player of the Year awards and return to college since 1977. Considering he was projected as a second-round pick, Tshiebwe might actually make more money by returning to Kentucky thanks to NIL opportunities. For that plan to work, the Democratic Republic of the Congo native needs more clarity on the status of his student visa, which bars him from working without a waiver. It is unlikely Tshiebwe would have announced his return without some assurance the visa issues would be resolved.
F Lance Ware (6-foot-9, 225 pounds, Jr.) | Ware has not made a public announcement about his future, but the deadlines to enter the draft and transfer portal passed with him still on the roster. Calipari has also signaled Ware will be part of next season’s team in recent interviews. Now, the question is whether Ware can carve out a larger role as Tshiebwe’s primary backup after averaging 1.5 points and 1.9 rebounds in 6.3 minutes per game last season.
PG Sahvir Wheeler (5-foot-9, 180 pounds, Jr.) | After leading the SEC in assists in back to back seasons, Wheeler faced questions about whether to start a professional career. There is not much of a NBA market for 5-foot-9 point guards who shoot 30% from 3, but Wheeler is unlikely to change his prospects much with another year of college. On Feb. 24 the former Georgia transfer announced he will return to UK for a second season. Now, the question is whether he faces more competition for minutes from freshman Cason Wallace or any transfer point guards added to the roster.
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Which recruits have signed with Kentucky basketball?
G Chris Livingston (6-foot-7, 210 pounds) | The No. 7-ranked prospect in the 2022 high school class, Livingston is projected to immediately step into a starring role for Kentucky on the wing as a freshman. The Wildcats will need him to replace some of the scoring lost with the departure of Washington. Livingston could also play the four in some smaller lineups.
G Cason Wallace (6-foot-4, 190 pounds) | The No. 8-ranked prospect in the 2022 high school class, Wallace could play on or off the ball for Kentucky next season. Considered an elite defender, Wallace could push for the starting point guard role as a freshman or play alongside Wheeler.
G Antonio Reeves (6-foot-6, 185 pounds) | Kentucky’s first transfer addition of the offseason comes to Lexington from Illinois State. As a junior, Reeves averaged 20.1 points per game while shooting 39% from 3-point range. “He’s a veteran scorer who not only has the ability to knock down shots but can create off the dribble,” Calipari said in a news release. “I like that he’s shown the desire to work and improve his game which has then translated to demonstrated performance as he’s continued to elevate his game each year. When talking with Antonio, I loved more than anything that his number one goal was to be at a place with a winning culture, so he has the chance to chase a championship.”
G Adou Thiero (6-foot-5, 180 pounds) | An unprecedented signee for Kentucky during the John Calipari era, Thiero joins the Wildcats as a three-star prospect from Pennsylvania. The son of a former Calipari player at Memphis, Thiero is seen as a long-term developmental prospect, but there are reasons to hope he might outperform his recruiting rankings faster than expected. An injury kept Theiro away from the major recruiting events the summer after his junior season then enjoyed a breakout senior season, averaging 3.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 3.9 steals and 2.3 blocks per game.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kentucky basketball roster: Tracking transfers, NBA draft, commits