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Jacob Grandison considering Kentucky basketball

Kentucky has a connection here in Orlando Antigua and Chin Coleman.

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NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Illinois Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

If the Kentucky Wildcats basketball team is done adding to the 2022-23 roster, it’s already a consensus top-10 team that’s even ranked No. 1 at some outlets, most recently The Athletic.

Sure, the loss to Saint Peter’s was brutal, but there’s no question the current group John Calipari has is one that’s capable of making a deep run in March, especially if they stay healthy, something that unfortunately wasn’t the case down the stretch last season.

It’s actually that kind of bad injury luck recently that has fans clamoring for Calipari to make at least one more addition to the roster, which may be nine deep with a healthy CJ Fredrick, but it only has 10 scholarship players, the last being a developmental 3-star recruit in Adou Thiero.

That’s why we should expect Calipari to keep tabs on any new options that become available, the latest being Illinois Fighting Illini graduate transfer Jacob Grandison.

Grandison, who would be a sixth-year senior this fall thanks to the free COVID season, will be immediately eligible next season because he’s a grad transfer, so he doesn’t have to worry about the May 1st NCAA deadline to enter the portal and be automatically eligible next season.

The Oakland (CA) native spent his first two college seasons at Holy Cross, transferred to Illinois, redshirted, then became a key player for the Illini over the last two seasons as they won 47 games, earned the Big Ten regular-season crown this past season, and won the Big Ten Tournament in 2021.

A career 37% 3-point shooter, Grandison averaged 9.6 points in 25 minutes per game this past season while shooting 45.5%, including 41% from deep. He averaged 4.6 points in 15.3 minutes per game in 2020-21 shooting 52.6%, including 41.5% from deep.

The 6-foot-6, 210-pound guard is also a good defender who could bring some much-needed depth to the 2 and 3 spots.

There’s an obvious connection working in Kentucky’s favor in assistant coaches Orlando Antigua and Ron ‘Chin’ Coleman, who were with Grandison in Champaign from 2019-21 before coming to Lexington.

Looking at his list of suitors, I wonder how much of a player Duke is after 2023 5-star guard Tyrese Proctor just reclassified to join the Blue Devils next season.

Arizona is projected as a preseason top-15 team and needs some more guard depth after losing Dalen Terry and Bennedict Mathurin.

Michigan is in need of bodies just about everywhere after getting hit hard for transfer and NBA Draft defections. UCLA and Oregon are other projected top-25 teams that could use more guard depth.

Given Kentucky’s current roster, there’s definitely better opportunities for playing time at most of the schools on Grandison’s list, and it’s unclear how hard Calipari is pursuing him at this time.

Given the Orlando/Coleman connection, one would think Kentucky has a serious shot at Grandison if they make him a priority.

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