The Kentucky Wildcats have had a huge offseason.
It was clear early on there would be a major roster overhaul after the late Terrence Clarke, B.J. Boston, and Isaiah Jackson left for the NBA Draft. Losing Devin Askew and Olivier Sarr was detrimental as well, though Kentucky managed to keep Dontaie Allen, Lance Ware and Keion Brooks, the latter of which should be a key leader this season.
In addition, the Wildcats brought in some elite talent. Snagging point guard TyTy Washington and center Daimion Collins was huge for Cal, but the transfers he was able to recruit will play just as big of a role.
West Virginia center Oscar Tshiebwe, Davidson guard Kellan Grady, Georgia guard Sahvir Wheeler, and Iowa guard CJ Fredrick will all be crucial for Kentucky’s success. The possible final piece of the puzzle was Davion Mintz announcing that he’ll be returning to Lexington.
Stadium’s Jeff Goodman recently ranked the ‘Cats as a top-ten side in his most recent Preseason Top 25.
“Last season was a disaster for John Calipari and the ‘Cats. Boston and Clarke didn’t live up to the hype and Askew struggled as a freshman point guard. There are still unanswered questions with the roster, but Cal has enough guys back that should take a jump, and he’s bringing in another highly rated group of frosh in addition to four impact transfers in Wheeler, Tshiebwe, Grady and Fredrick,” Goodman wrote.
Following Kentucky was Arkansas, the only other SEC team in the top 10. Gonzaga topped the rankings with Villanova coming in second overall. With all the talent now with the Cats, they’ll likely consistently rank in the top 10 for most analysts.
This will be a massive season for Kentucky after a disappointing 2020.
Now, with a full preseason, they should be able to figure this out. The leadership from players like Mintz and others could be the difference between last year repeating itself and an SEC championship-level roster taking the court.
And there’s still a chance Kentucky adds one of No. 1 overall high school recruit Jalen Duren or Illinois All-American center Kofi Cockburn. Either would put Kentucky in contention for the preseason No. 1 ranking.