Kentucky wildcats

Kentucky’s transfer portal class is being disrespected by On3

Kentucky basketball recruiting class is severely underrated.

Although Mark Pope has not been the Kentucky Wildcats’ head basketball coach for very long, he has assembled his first squad incredibly fast.

Lamont Butler, Amari Williams, Kerr Kriisa, Andrew Carr, Otega Oweh, Ansley Almonor, Brandon Garrison, and Koby Brea all selected the Wildcats, therefore he has now added eight transfer portal players.

Despite adding all of these seasoned players through the transfer portal, On3 still ranks the Wildcats as the 19th-best transfer portal recruiting class.

This is how On3 says their rankings are determined, “On3’s Team Transfer Portal Index utilizes the On3 (P)erformance score to measure a team’s production during the transfer process, compared relative against its roster and not a comparison against other schools. This proprietary algorithm determines if a school has improved its overall team talent, stayed the same, or declined in talent during the transfer window.”

This system seems a bit flawed to me as, yes, Kentucky was more talented stars-wise last season, but this team has the potential to be a Final Four squad because they have experienced players and strong defensive guys. Coach Pope will have this on his starting roster since it has shown to be the formula for winning a national championship.

It’s not all computer stats in sports. It has to do with the eye test. Kentucky possessed a lot of talent the previous season, but it was all for naught. Coach Pope is now assembling a different Kentucky team than we have seen in a while, but it is the kind of team that is successful in the modern era of sports.

When all is said and done, I have a hunch that this Wildcat class will have done far better than 19th when we look back at these rankings.


Did John Calipari try to screw over his 2 best players in final Kentucky season?

Did John Calipari try to screw over his 2 best players in final Kentucky season? Not so fast my friend.

John Calipari, the former head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats, has a track record of developing players for the NBA Draft. Much of his success in Lexington can be attributed to it, as it produced future players like Anthony Davis, John Wall, Demarcus Cousins, and others. He hopes to bring that same pedigree to Arkansas.

With two probable lottery selections in the 2024 NBA Draft, however, Calipari purposefully accomplished the exact opposite, as Rob Dillingham and Reed Sheppard, respectively, started just one and three games. Even though both guys played a lot of minutes, Calipari employed a strange tactic that might have backfired on both him and the young players he was trying to develop.

In defense of John Calipari in final Kentucky season

Of course, starts matter much less than minutes played and what said prospects achieve when on the floor. Both Dillingham and Sheppard were among Kentucky’s best players, and impressed scouts enough to be in the conversation as lottery chips. Heck, they ought to have a chip on their shoulders for coming off the bench thanks to Coach Cal. John Clay of the Lexington Herald-Leader made this exact point in a recent column:

“Neither Sheppard nor Dillingham was going to start ahead of Reeves, who led UK in scoring at 20.2 points per game. Wagner began the year as a starter and stayed there, primarily because he was considered UK’s best on-the-ball defender, but also because Calipari liked bringing Sheppard and Dillingham off the bench early, sometimes before even the first under-16-minute media timeout,” Clay wrote.

Sheppard is projected to go third to the Houston Rockets in the latest ESPN NBA Mock Draft, while Dillingham is slotted at fourth. Whatever Calipari did to develop these two young stars behind the scenes, it clearly worked, and he’ll looked to bring that same energy to Fayetteville.

Kentucky fans are reaching in latest John Calipari critique

As frustrating as Calipari’s lack of in-game adjustments and stubborn nature can be, this is not one of those times. Both Sheppard and Dillingham received some of the most minutes on the team, but didn’t start behind two proven veterans in Reeves and Wagner. Case closed.

“Who starts the game doesn’t matter nearly as much as who finishes the game. And Kentucky basketball’s downfall in 2023-24 had more to do with bad defense and poor rebounding than with John Calipari not starting Reed Sheppard or Rob Dillingham,” Clay continued.

Frustrated Kentucky fans should be happy Calipari is gone in favor of Mark Pope. The former BYU coach will bring a fresh energy the Wildcats desperately need right now before their product goes stale. There’s no point in reaching for another Coach Cal critique.

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