LEXINGTON — Roster turnover is nothing new for Kentucky basketball.
John Calipari’s tenure in Lexington has been characterized by an annual overhaul of the Wildcat roster with defections to the NBA draft. The NCAA’s adoption of a one-time free transfer for most athletes has only added to that churn.
Two departures were assured with super senior guards Davion Mintz and Kelan Grady exhausting their college eligibility, but more have already followed. Bookmark this page to keep track of the movement on Kentucky’s 2022-23 roster throughout the offseason.
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Which Kentucky basketball players are transferring?
G Dontaie Allen (6-foot-6, 205 pounds, So.) | After playing in 18 of 34 games for Kentucky this season, the former Mr. Kentucky Basketball from Pendleton County elected to look elsewhere for more minutes. On April 13, Allen announced he had signed with Western Kentucky University.
F Bryce Hopkins (6-foot-6, 220 pounds, Fr.) | After Hopkins totaled 13 points in 16 minutes in a Feb. 23 win over LSU, Calipari insisted the Illinois native had forced his way into a larger role. Instead, Hopkins played just seven total minutes in the final six games before placing his name in the transfer portal. On April 25, Hopkins announced he had committed to Providence.
G/F Zan Payne (6-foot-4, 215 pounds, Jr.) | Perhaps the least surprising transfer of the entire cycle, Kentucky’s walk-on wing placed his name in the portal shortly before the May 1 deadline. He almost certainly now will become the first player since Marvin Stone (2002) to transfer from Kentucky to arch rival Louisville, where his father, Kenny Payne, was recently hired as coach. Payne appeared in 11 games across four years at UK.
Which Kentucky basketball players have entered the NBA draft?
G TyTy Washington (6-foot-3, 197 pounds, Fr.) | Injuries derailed the end of a promising freshman season for Washington, but the late-season slump was not enough to prevent the former five-star recruit from declaring for the draft and ending his college eligibility. Washington is projected as a likely lottery pick in June’s draft.
F Keion Brooks (6-foot-7, 210 pounds, Jr.) | Kentucky’s veteran leader is not projected as a likely draft pick this year, but he is still testing the draft waters. Brooks has left the door open to a possible return to college, but there is no guarantee that would be at Kentucky considering he has been the subject of transfer rumors for more than a year. He reportedly placed his name in the transfer portal shortly before the May 1 deadline to open that possibility. The Indiana native could also elect to start a professional career in the NBA’s G League or overseas.
G Shaedon Sharpe (6-foot-6, 200 pounds, Fr.) | The former No. 1-ranked prospect in the high school class of 2022, Sharpe graduated early to enroll at UK in January and practice with the team. Even after it became clear he was eligible for the 2022 draft, Sharpe did not play in games for Kentucky. On April 21, Sharpe announced he was declaring for the draft while maintaining his college eligibility, hours after two national reports that he would start an NBA career without ever playing for Kentucky. Sharpe is projected as a possible top-10 pick in June.
F Jacob Toppin (6-foot-9, 200 pounds, Jr.) | The younger brother of New York Knicks forward Obi Toppin, Jacob is testing the draft waters to garner feedback from teams. He is maintaining his college eligibility though and is still ultimately expected to return to UK. If he plays for Kentucky next season, Toppin could move into a featured role.
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Which Kentucky basketball players are planning to return to school?
F Daimion Collins (6-foot-9, 202 pounds, Fr.) | 247Sports reported early in the offseason that Collins was planning to return to Kentucky, but he did not confirm that decision publicly until April 23 when he tweeted a graphic with the caption “let’s run it back.” On his final radio show of the season, Calipari said if Collins does come back to Kentucky and puts in the work adding muscle to his slim frame this offseason, “he becomes one of the best players in the country.” The former five-star recruit averaged 2.9 points and two rebounds in 7.4 minutes per game.
G CJ Fredrick (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) | Fredrick will have to wait a year longer than planned to make his Kentucky debut after missing the entire 2021-22 season with a hamstring injury. When healthy, Fredrick has proven to be one of the most effective 3-point shooters in the country. He converted 46.6% (83 for 178) of his 3-point attempts in two seasons at Iowa before transferring to Kentucky. Fredrick also has experience at Rupp Arena, leading Covington Catholic to the 2018 state title. On April 16, Fredrick tweeted a video of him going through a workout with the caption, “Back at it, BBN… 22-23 soon.”
F Oscar Tshiebwe (6-foot-9, 255 pounds, Jr.) | With his Feb. 20 announcement, Tshiebwe became just the third underclassman to sweep the major National Player of the Year awards and return to college since 1977. Considering he was projected as a second-round pick, Tshiebwe might actually make more money by returning to Kentucky thanks to NIL opportunities. For that plan to work, the Democratic Republic of the Congo native needs more clarity on the status of his student visa, which bars him from working without a waiver. It is unlikely Tshiebwe would have announced his return without some assurance, the visa issues would be resolved.
PG Sahvir Wheeler (5-foot-9, 180 pounds, Jr.) | After leading the SEC in assists in back to back seasons, Wheeler faced questions about whether to start a professional career. There is not much of a NBA market for 5-foot-9 point guards who shoot 30% from 3, but Wheeler is unlikely to change his prospects much with another year of college. On Feb. 24 the former Georgia transfer announced he will return to UK for a second season. Now, the question is whether he faces more competition for minutes from freshman CasWallace or any transfer point guards added to the roster.
Which recruits have signed with Kentucky basketball?
G Chris Livingston (6-foot-7, 210 pounds) | The No. 7-ranked prospect in the 2022 high school class, Livingston is projected to immediately step into a starring role for Kentucky on the wing as a freshman. The Wildcats will need him to replace some of the scoring lost with the departure of Washington. Livingston could also play the four in some smaller lineups.
G Cason Wallace (6-foot-4, 190 pounds) | The No. 8-ranked prospect in the 2022 high school class, Wallace could play on or off the ball for Kentucky next season. Considered an elite defender, Wallace could push for the starting point guard role as a freshman.
G Antonio Reeves (6-foot-6, 185 pounds) | Kentucky’s first transfer addition of the offseason comes to Lexington from Illinois State. As a junior, Reeves averaged 20.1 points per game while shooting 39% from 3-point range. “He’s a veteran scorer who not only has the ability to knock down shots but can create off the dribble,” Calipari said in a news release. “I like that he’s shown the desire to work and improve his game which has then translated to demonstrated performance as he’s continued to elevate his game each year. When talking with Antonio, I loved more than anything that his number one goal was to be at a place with a winning culture, so he has the chance to chase a championship.”
Which Kentucky basketball players have not announced their decisions?
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F Lance Ware (6-foot-9, 225 pounds, So.) | Ware has said nothing publicly to suggest he is considering leaving UK, but he has been the subject of transfer speculation due to his limited role (6.3 minutes per game) and the hire of former Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne at Louisville. Payne recruited Ware to UK and played with Ware’s mentor, Pervis Ellison, at U of L. It is possible Ware’s decision is impacted by what Tshiebwe does. If Tshiewbe returns, Ware must decide if he is content to backup the Player of the Year again.
Email Jon Hale at firstname.lastname@example.org; Follow him on Twitter at @JonHale_CJ.