The Kentucky Wildcats are expecting TyTy Washington to enter the NBA Draft, while Shaedon Sharpe is also likely heading to the draft. Along with Kellan Grady and Davion Mintz graduating, that would leave some major holes to be filled in the backcourt.
With the transfer portal starting to heat up as teams get bounced from the NCAA Tournament, one name to keep an eye on is former LSU and Missouri guard Xavier Pinson. The Cats have reportedly reached out to Pinson following LSU’s loss to Iowa State.
LSU earned an at-large bid to the Big Dance with Pinson starting all but one game. Given the coaching change that the program will undergo, it’s understandable that some players may look elsewhere.
That said, Kentucky isn’t by itself. Many teams are looking into Pinson as a potential answer to backcourt woes.
Kentucky, Michigan State, Mizzou, Xavier, Arizona State, are among the several who have reached out to LSU transfer Xavier Pinson, sources told @Stockrisers. One of the top-available transfers in the portal, entered yesterday.— Jake (@jakeweingarten) March 25, 2022
The 6-foot-2 guard started his career with Missouri. He played there for three years then headed to LSU for a season. With the LSU Tigers, he averaged 9.8 points per game, lower than both his final two seasons in Missouri where he at least reached double figures per game.
Pinson’s role and use within the program was likely a factor in his decision to transfer. On top of that, Pinson’s shooting was a career-low 36.5%, but considering he shot 40% from three his freshman season, the potential is still there.
Now, with the Tigers this past season, Pinson did take on more of a distributor role as the program needed his creation more than his scoring. He averaged a career-high 4.8 assists per game.
Another transfer option emerging for Kentucky is Terrence Shannon Jr., whose season just ended last night when Texas Tech lost a barnburner with Duke in the Sweet 16.
Texas Tech's Terrence Shannon Jr. tells me that he is entering the transfer portal.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 25, 2022
Will still consider a return to Texas Tech.
Averaged 10.4 PPG.
6’7 High Flyer Terrence Shannon (Texas Tech) Jr enter the transfer portal. He has heard from Kentucky, UConn, Illinois and Michigan already. #MacIrvinFire— Mac Irvin Fire (@TheMacIrvinFire) March 25, 2022
The 6-foot-7 junior wing averaged 10.4 points, 2.0 assists, 2.6 boards and 0.8 steals per game under first-year head coach Mark Adams. The Chicago native shot 38.1% from three after hitting 35.7% from deep last season. He’s also been a full-time starter for the Red Raiders since joining the program (you can read more about his basketball journey here).
Shannon is known as a high-level defender and would be a very solid starter for Kentucky if he lands in Lexington. He’ll likely be one of the top wings to hit the portal this offseason, so look for other big-name programs to show interest as well.
One advantage Kentucky has here is assistant coach Chin Coleman, who was head coach of the Mac Irvin Fire AAU program in Chicago from 2005-11.