According to Kyle Tucker of The Athletic, the Kentucky Wildcats have reached out to Olivier Nkamhoua, who is now in the transfer portal and testing the NBA Draft waters.
Currently. The Athletic’s transfer portal rankings have Nkamhoua ranked No. 6 overall with the following note about his potential to choose an overseas career this offseason.
The question is whether or not that will be in college basketball or in a professional setting. Nkamhoua is a native of Finland, and won’t have any issues finding gainful employment overseas in a really strong league to start his career. That’s probably the more sensible move for him financially long-term. But if Nkamhoua does return to college, he’d likely be an all-conference player next season wherever he suits up.
Because Nkamhoua is testing the NBA waters, a final decision on his next home may not come for several months.
With transfer portal season in full swing, the Kentucky Wildcats will likely be adding multiple players from it with so many guys expected to leave town.
One of the biggest transfers in this cycle just emerged, and it’s someone Kentucky is very familiar with.
Thursday evening, news broke that Tennessee Volunteers forward Olivier Nkamhoua had entered the portal as a grad transfer. On3’s Jamie Shaw broke the news first. Nkamhoua has one season of eligibility left thanks to the free COVID-19 season.
A 6-foot-9 and 236 pounds, Nkamhoua emerged as one of the SEC’s best forwards this past season. His season averages were a bit modest at 10.8 points (51.3% shooting), 5.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game.
However, the Finland native had some monster performances in Tennessee’s biggest wins this season.
In the SEC/Big 12 Challenge victory over the Texas Longhorns, Nkamhoua racked up 27 points (12/15 shooting), eight boards, one block, and three assists vs. one turnover.
Nkamhoua had just as big of a performance in the Vols’ Round of 32 win over the Duke Blue Devils, going for 27 points (10/13 shooting) and five rebounds. That game alone on such a big stage will get him significant interest from major programs.
While not a great three-point threat, Nkamhoua did shoot a respectable 33.3% this year from deep on 1.5 attempts per game. He shot 44.8% on 1.3 attempts per game last season, so he’s good enough to keep defenses honest and help space the floor, something Kentucky desperately needs more of.
Another area Nkamhoua does well in is not turning the ball over. He committed 58 turnovers on the season but just one in three NCAA Tournament games and seven over his last 11 games. For comparison, Oscar Tshiebwe and Jacob Toppin combined for 11 turnovers in Kentucky’s two NCAA Tournament games alone.
Nkamhoua primarily played the 4 spot during his time in Knoxville while occasionally sliding down to the 5 in small-ball lineups.
This is someone Kentucky should, at the very least, make a phone call to.
What say you? Should Kentucky make a push for this former Vol? Let us know in the comments section!
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