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Zvonimir Ivisic leaving Kentucky, following John Calipari to Arkansas

Zvonimir Ivisic has committed to Arkansas despite meeting with new Kentucky head coach Mark Pope.

Though there was some hope that Zvonimir Ivisic, a talented 7-foot-2 center, might stay in Kentucky after the coaching change, those hopes were dashed on Monday night.

Ivisic declared he was going to follow Arkansas and John Calipari. Ivisic did, in fact, meet with Mark Pope, the recently hired head coach of Kentucky, on Monday afternoon, but he quickly announced his choice.

“Today, I had a fantastic meeting with Coach Pope. He’s a fantastic coach and an incredible guy, and he will do great things here,” Ivisic posted on social media. “I told him that I wouldn’t be going back to Kentucky after our talk. I adore you, Big Blue Nation, my incredible teammates, and this has been the greatest experience a Croatian child could hope for visiting the US. From the beginning, you treated me like one of your own, and our love only deepened! From the billboard to the myriad other gestures of affection you have shown. Come on, I mean. Who takes that action? That will always make me happy, and it will hold a particular place in my heart.

“With all that being said, I made the lifetime decision to come to college for a few reasons. Main one’s to win a national championship and go to the NBA. Monumental part of that decision was Coach Cal, and no one does both of those at the same time than him. That’s why I am excited to announce that I am committing to Coach Cal and the Arkansas Razorbacks.”

Ivisic appeared in 15 games this year, averaging 5.5 points and 3.3 rebounds in 11.7 minutes per game. He shot 37.5 percent (6-of-16) from three.

Ivisic scored in double figures four times during the season, including a career-high eighteen points on seven of eleven field goals in a victory over Alabama.

Ivisic is the second player from Kentucky to leave the program and relocate. Aaron Bradshaw, a fellow freshman forward, also declared his attendance at Ohio State on Monday.

Five players have entered the portal for Kentucky, with DJ Wagner being the most recent to declare his intention to withdraw from the team. As the other transfers still in the gateway, he joins Adou Thiero and Joey Hart.

Rob Dillingham, a guard, and Justin Edwards, a winger, have declared that they will forfeit their remaining eligibility and enter the NBA Draft.

So, that leaves a key decision for freshman guard Reed Sheppard. Sheppard is a projected lottery pick in every as high as the second overall pick in the most recent ESPN mock draft. Shortly after Mark Pope assumed the position, he already had a conversation with Pope.

Kentucky is still the destination for two of the six recruits in the 2024 class. Among them are Travis Perry, a four-star guard, and Billy Richmond, a five-star wing.

During his opening news conference, Pope stated, “We are talking to every player in the portal right now, all of those recruits, and all of the guys on the current team.””We will identify players who complement our style of play, who will come here and recognize the privilege of playing at the University of Kentucky.”

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