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UK showing interest in TJ Bamba, Kel’el Ware, and Graham Ike

Three big-time names that John Calipari has his eye on.

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NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament Quarterfinals - Oregon vs Washington State Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

After a quiet start, the Kentucky Wildcats have been showing more public interest in transfer portal candidates over the last 24 hours.

We now have confirmation of more transfers in which Kentucky has shown interest in, courtesy of The Athletic’s Kyle Tucker.

According to Tucker, among some of the new names Kentucky has reached out to include Washington State wing TJ Bamba, Oregon center Kel’el Ware, and, Wyoming center Graham Ike.

Ware, a 7-foot native of Arkansas, was the seventh-ranked recruit in the class of 2022 before signing with the Ducks. As a true freshman, he appeared in 35 games (15.8 minutes per game) while averaging 6.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per outing.

When Ware initially entered the portal, he immediately drew interest from the likes of Texas, Duke, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Memphis, Florida State, and Gonzaga, according to On3 reporter Joe Tipton.

Bamba, a 6-foot-5 junior from New York, averaged 15.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 0.9 steals across 32.2 minutes per game this past season. He shot 37.2% from deep on 4.8 attempts per game, so he knows how to light it up from three-point range.

Ike, a 6-foot-9 junior from Colorado, took a medical redshirt this season after sustaining a foot injury in early November that sidelined him through the first three months before he decided to sit out the rest of the year in February.

As a sophomore in the 2021-22 season, Ike was one of the most productive big men in the sport, averaging 19.5 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 1.3 assists over 31.6 minutes per game. If not for the injury, he’d easily be one of the top players currently in the transfer portal.

For what it’s worth, The Athletic’s transfer rankings currently have Bamba ranked No. 5 overall, Ware at No. 12, and Ike at No. 20.

Bamba looks like a good option for Kentucky if Chris Livingston ends up leaving. Ware and Ike could be options if Ugonna Onyenso exits town.

Be sure to read Kyle Tucker’s full article at The Athletic for more insight into who Kentucky has shown interest in, as well as a note on who could fill the vacant assistant coaching position.

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