When Kerry Blackshear Jr. decided to pull out of the NBA Draft, the belief was he’d eventually end up at Florida or Kentucky.
After all, of the schools reportedly in the running, those are the two best options in terms of giving Blackshear a chance to have a big role for a title-contending team.
But then Memphis jumped into the mix this past week. While it remains to be seen at how good Penny Hardaway is at developing college players, his Tigers are loaded for next season and are already a preseason top 15 team. Blackshear would make them a legitimate Final Four contender and could help the young Tigers live up to their ridiculous potential.
However, it sounds like Memphis is not a legitimate threat to land Blackshear, according to Chris Dortch, who thinks the grad transfer will ultimately pick from these three schools:
Don't buy the Kerry Blackshear/Memphis rumors. His final choices will come down to Texas A&M, Kentucky and Tennessee. One way or another, @Vol_Hoops fans will see him play in TBA. He's one of the most impactful players in the grad transfer era.— Chris Dortch (@cdortch) June 16, 2019
Now, I would take this report with a grain of salt. Dortch does fantastic work with the annual Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, but he’s not been known as someone to break recruiting scoops like this.
But if his report is true, then it’s good news for the Wildcats, as Florida has been viewed as their biggest competition for Blackshear.
And for what it’s worth, Florida is now looking into another big man option in Boston College grad transfer Tyler Scanlon. Perhaps it’s a sign that they’re losing steam in the race for Blackshear after getting his first visit 10 days ago.
Tennessee did just host him for an official visit, and you could argue they need Blackshear more than any schools he’s considering. But even with him, it’s hard to see the Vols being a legitimate Final Four threat after everything they lost this offseason.
Texas A&M has the obvious allure of Blackshear’s former head coach in Buzz Williams, who left Virginia Tech this offseason to become head coach of the Aggies. Blackshear has improved every year under Williams’ tutelage, so who’s to say that can’t happen one more year?
But the Aggies are arguably the worst team that Blackshear is considering. Even with him, they may struggle just to make the NCAA Tournament, let alone make a Final Four run.
The kicker in all of this is Blackshear has yet to visit Kentucky. He was reportedly set to visit this week, but as of Sunday afternoon, it hasn’t happened.
Then there’s the belief that Blackshear could announce his decision as early as this coming week. If that’s true, then perhaps a visit to Lexington will happen in the coming days.