Who Will John Calipari Reel-in to Play Down Low?
The main topic the last 3-4 weeks has been "Who will play the center spot for Kentucky next season?" Its become pretty obvious that it Calipari has been working hard within the transfer portal and even on the recruiting trail to find that next piece to make Kentucky a legitimate contender next season. This is really the only big weakness in next years team, a weakness that could really hurt if we don't add depth to the front court.
Here is a list of legitimate options that Kentucky could add. They may go as far to add two of these, and I'm beginning to believe that is the plan.
***There is still a possibility for more kids to enter the portal, these are the candidates as of now.
Options from the Transfer Portal:
Olivier Sarr- 7'0", 255 lbs, Center, Wake Forest
Sarr would be the ultimate prize to Big Blue Nation! Wake Forest just recently fired Sarr's head coach, Danny Manning, and replaced him with up and coming coach Steve Forbes, from ETSU. Sarr is going into his senior season, but however, he does not qualify to be a graduate transfer. The kicker here is that the NCAA has been known to give kids waivers to be immediately eligible if they lose their head coach. Many believe this will be the case for him, and if so many believe he would have to be option number 1 for Calipari and the rest of the staff. Sarr, originally from France, averaged 13.7 points and 9 rebounds for the Demon Deacons and had as many as 11 double-doubles. He became nearly unstoppable toward the end of the season. He put up 25 points and 5 rebounds before eventually fouling out against Duke in a double overtime victory, and followed that up with a 30 point, 17 rebound effort against Notre Dame, along with another victory. I believe it's safe to say, Sarr fits the mold.
DeAndre Williams- 6'9",190 lbs, Forward, Evansville(blahhh)
Williams, who played for the Evansville team that beat Kentucky this past year, is actually a very intriguing prospect. “He just wants the chance to start, be used as a point-forward that can spread out the offense and maximize the various mismatches he presents and not be faced with a stagnated offense,” his coach, Kenneth Roy of Nation Wide Academy, told Rivals.com. While DeAndre doesn't really fit the mold of a center, which we need more than anything, he would be a nice addition along with a big. I wouldn't think he is the highest prioritized prospect to join UK's team next season, but he would most definitely be a nice get. But you face the problem of who to start-Brooks or Williams. May be a conflict of interest, I dunno... Williams would not be considered a grad transfer either, but he fits the mold as another guy who lost his head coach this past season.
Romello White-6'8",235 lbs, PF/C, Arizona State
White is a very interesting option here, as he literally just entered the transfer portal Sunday night. White would be considered a grad transfer as well, so he is for sure eligible for next season-I believe the others will as well. White averaged 10.2 points and 8.8 rebounds last year for the Sun Devils. Though White is a little short, he has a long wingspan to make up for that (7 ft). White has started 90 out of 95 games in his collegiate career and has been pretty consistent to the numbers he averaged last year throughout his whole career. His first two years he struggled at the free throw line just hitting 55% his freshman year and 57% his sophomore season. However, last year he upped that percentage to 68% and one would think he's only going to get better. White would be another very nice get for Calipari. White put up 18 points and 7 rebounds against Isaiah Stewart of Washington last season, had 19 and 10 against Colorado, and put up 18 and 12 against Creighton. White is the definition of a GROWN MAN!
As of now, those are the only graduate transfer/transfer options, however, that can change in a heartbeat!
Here are the options Kentucky has as far as freshman additions.
Options from the recruiting trail:
Cisse (pronounced See-Say) recently cut his list down to Georgia, LSU, Kentucky, Florida St, Georgetown, and Memphis. Cisse is originally considered a 2021 prospect, but has been rumored to be a reclassification candidate. In a recent interview with Corey Evans of Rivals, Cisse had nothing but good things to say about Calipari. “Coach Cal is one of the greatest coaches of all time. I went there for a visit and it was great. Also, whenever I first got to the United States, they were the first team that I watched and when they offered me my sophomore year, that was just really big. I feel really good about them.”Cisse came to Big Blue Madness last year on an official visit and also came two other times last year on unofficial visits, so he is very familiar with the school already and the best fan base in America. Many believe, however, Cisse is a heavy LSU lean at the moment, with Memphis and Florida State being right there behind them. I would say if he does reclassify he doesn't come to UK as things stand as they are. But if he stays in his original class, there is still time to make up some ground. We've all been shocked before though (insert Kevin Knox and Julius Randle's name here).
Anselem announced on April 14th that he would be reclassifying into the 2020 class, but at the time his 3 top schools were LSU, Georgia, and Alabama with LSU being the most likely destination. However they ended up adding Josh Gray 4 days later. So that kind of shook some things up for Anselem and he reopened his recruitment. Since them he had heard from numerous schools but trimmed his list down to Kentucky, Syracuse, Seton Hall, San Diego St, Arkansas and Western Kentucky. Now, its important to note that Anselem isnt the prototypical Kentucky recruit. Its going to take time to develop his offensive game, however, Anselem is very bouncy and athletic and a very good rim protector. Anselem would likely be another guy Calipari takes to develop, with his potential being out of this world. He wouldn't likely be an immediate impact guy but Anselem and the addition of another guy would almost be ideal. Anselem is actually seen as a heavy UK lean right now as well.
On April 22, it was reported by Clint Jackson that Kentucky (Joel Justus in fact) had reached out to Efton Reid. This came briefly after Kentucky had missed out on Matt Haarms. Kentucky has yet to extend an offer, though. Reid has been believed to have been contemplating a jump to the 2020 class. If indeed he does make the jump, I would expect an offer to potentially be on the table here. No other information has been gathered from this recruitment.
Makur Maker has declared for the 2020 NBA Draft (he's old enough to be eligible), but has not completely closed the door on the possibility of playing in college. Maker definitely wants to stay in the draft and is believed to very likely stay put if he is given a guarantee he will be picked. But if that is not put on the table his college list would likely consist of UCLA, Oregon, Auburn and Kentucky. Makur would likely stay out west if he does in fact play college basketball.
Who would you like to see wearing UK blue next year?