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UNC’s Walker Kessler to transfer; Justin Powell is a close friend

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Could Kentucky land Kessler thanks to Justin Powell (if he ends up in Lexington)?

USA TODAY Sports

Today, news broke that North Carolina Tar Heels big man Walker Kessler will be transferring from the program. Kessler averaged 4.4 points and 3.2 rebounds per game during his freshman season while playing in a loaded frontcourt.

But could Kessler end up at Kentucky? Kyle Tucker of The Athletic brought up the possibility, being that Kessler and Auburn transfer and Kentucky native, Justin Powell, are close to one another.

Interestingly enough, Brandon Marks, who covers North Carolina for The Athletic, seemed to agree.

There has been no word if Kentucky and John Calipari had been in contact with Kessler prior, or if Justin Powell had been in contact with Kessler, but when there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.

Kentucky would be going all-in, in the transfer market going after Kessler, who they could very well go after being that they would be trying to fill out a roster and bringing in Kessler to work alongside Daimion Collins and Oscar Tshiebwe wouldn’t hurt.

Kessler is a former five-star recruit who chose the Tar Heels over Duke, Michigan, Vanderbilt, and Virginia.

And don’t let Kessler’s limited freshman stats fool you. He played in a frontcourt that had an all-conference guy in Garrison Brooks, a projected first-round pick in Day’Ron Sharpe, and another potential NBA Draft pick in Armando Bacot.

Despite this, Kessler managed to have one of the best performances any Tar Heel had this season when he scored 20 points on 9/10 shooting with eight boards (five offensive) and four blocks in a 78-70 home win over 11th-ranked Florida State, who ranks 10th nationally in two-point defense, fifth in opponent defensive boards per game, and 26th in defensive effective field-goal percentage.

Kessler also went for 16 points, 12 boards, eight(!) blocks and two steals in a 101-59 win over Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament.

So yeah, he’s a player and could be a massive addition for whoever lands him. Look for Kentucky to at least inquire about him in the coming weeks.

Of course, Kentucky’s own frontcourt could be loaded if Keion Brooks returns. But if he departs, Kessler could be a great replacement.

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