John Calipari has thrived in Lexington. Utilizing top recruits in the one-and-done era has resulted in a National Championship, multiple Final Fours, and several Elite Eights.
But times are changing. More top recruits are going to smaller teams, some guys are heading to the NBA G-League, and the culture at Kentucky has led to several upperclassmen taking the transfer route.
However, over the last few years, Coach Cal has started to get more involved in the transfer market. From Reid Travis and Nate Sestina to Oliver Sarr, Davion Mintz, and Jacob Toppin, Kentucky is embracing the idea of the transfer player.
Could the fall of 2021 be the year that transfers make just as much of an impact as five-star freshmen?
According to ESPN, Kentucky has already landed the top transfer for 2021 in Oscar Tshiebwe. ESPN’s Jeff Borzello had this to say about the Wildcats’ newest big man:
“Tshiebwe was one of the best big men in the country as a freshman (11.2 PPG, 9.3 RPG) but struggled through 10 games this season before leaving. He ultimately chose Kentucky over the likes of Miami, Illinois and NC State.”
Perhaps the next target on Calipari’s list is Kentucky native Justin Powell. Powell had a hot start to his college career in Auburn before deciding to enter the transfer portal. He is currently ranked as the No. 2 transfer in the country, and it has been rumored that he would be likely to choose Kentucky if he receives an offer.
“Before getting hurt in early January, Powell was one of the more surprising freshmen in the country,” Borzello wrote of Powell. “He was handling playmaking duties for the Tigers while also making shots and scoring. Averaged 11.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists, shooting 44.2% from 3. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Kentucky, Louisville and others get involved.”
Kentucky seems to be involved already, but we are still waiting to see if a scholarship offer is issued to Powell. If he commits and Kentucky is able to land another top 50 recruit to add to a few returners from the 2020-2021 squad, Calipari may have something cooking for next season. Stay tuned to A Sea of Blue for all recruiting updates and breaking news.