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John Calipari thinks Kentucky will have a senior exodus

All of Kentucky’s seniors have the option to return for one more year, but Coach Cal isn’t banking on it.

John Calipari Drew Brown - A Sea Of Blue

The 2022-2023 season is over for the Kentucky Wildcats after a disappointing loss to Kansas State. The 6-seed in the East Region had their opportunities but ultimately couldn’t pull off the win in Greensboro.

Oscar Tshiebwe led the Cats with 25 points and 18 rebounds, 9 of which were on the offensive glass. He was 8-for-13 from the field.

Tshiebwe, who spent two seasons with West Virginia and was the National Player of the Year with Kentucky last season, is a senior with one year of eligibility left.

However, the assumption has been that Tshiebwe, along with most of Kentucky’s seniors, will be heading elsewhere. That senior group also includes Jacob Toppin, Antonio Reeves, Sahvir Wheeler, CJ Fredrick, and walk-on Brennan Canada.

During postgame interviews today, Calipari guessed that none of these guys will be back next season.

Most of these seniors came to Kentucky from elsewhere with Fredrick transferring from Iowa, Reeves from Illinois State, Tshiebwe from West Virginia, and Wheeler from Georgia.

The Cats have been active in the transfer portal the last few years, and with Cason Wallace set to leave for the NBA Draft, there’s potential for the Cats to lose nearly all of their offensive production and replace it with incoming freshmen.

However, the Cats have three of the top four players in the Class of 2023. They also have four of the top five players. Players like DJ Wagner and Justin Edwards will be expected to come in and fill the void for the Wildcats.

Couple their ability with 7-foot center Aaron Bradshaw and likely some transfer portal additions, and the Cats should be able to bounce back despite seeing most of their production head elsewhere.

If the freshmen step up, Calipari will have quite the job on his hands, especially considering how the NCAA has trended away from one-and-done teams being the pinnacle of college hoops.

Nonetheless, the Cats are in good hands moving forward.