SEC Basketball Media Days are underway, which means we’ll be getting plenty of quotes from head coach John Calipari today.
The biggest storyline right now is the health of Kentucky Wildcats big men Ugonna Onyenso and Aaron Bradshaw. For this Kentucky team to come remotely close to reaching its potential, it needs one or both of these guys healthy as the season progresses.
It appeared we wouldn’t see either guy until late November at the very earliest, at least based on what Calipari said during the recent Kentucky Pro Day.
However, during SEC Media Days, Calipari gave another vague update on the two bigs, saying he shouldn’t have mentioned the 5-6 week timeline and that Bradshaw is ahead of Onyenso in his recovery.
Calipari also said he’s not sure if either will be back for the start of the regular season, which is coming soon on November 6th vs. New Mexico State. He added that both players have still been working hard in the weight room and have put on about 25 pounds of muscle.
John Calipari said he regrets putting a timeline on Aaron Bradshaw and Ugonna Onyenso's recoveries from foot injuries. Said he doesn't know if they will be back by the start of the season.— Tyler Thompson (@MrsTylerKSR) October 18, 2023
"They're on the right path, both of them. Ugo is a little behind Aaron because of the…
Calipari on whether Bradshaw and Onyenso status for the regular season opener Nov. 6: "I don't know."— Aaron Gershon (@agershon99) October 18, 2023
Says both gained near 25 lbs of muscle but missing out on the "bump and grind" of game will mean their time out will effect them
Hopefully, one or both bigs will be able to play in games sooner rather than later.
In the meantime, Kentucky is hoping 7-foot-2 Croatian center Zvonimir Ivisic can help hold the fort down in the frontcourt while Bradshaw and Onyenso are out. Ivisic arrived on campus last week and is expected to play in this week’s Blue-White Game in Northern Kentucky.
While Ivisic has cleared all the academic hurdles, he’s still not fully eligible for the upcoming season, though Calipari is confident that will happen. He added that Big Z is just starting to participate in contact practice, so he’s still behind as far as being in game shape.
John Calipari said that Zvonimir Ivisic still needs to go through the NCAA eligibility process but he feels good about it.— Tyler Thompson (@MrsTylerKSR) October 18, 2023
"I think he'll be in good shape but he's got to go through the process like every other foreign student would do."
On Ivisic: "He's just going to start contact in tonight's practice so if you think he'll be ready to jump in and dominate a game you're wrong."— Aaron Gershon (@agershon99) October 18, 2023
Let’s just hope Big Z is ready to go Game 1.