Kentucky wildcats

Kentucky Basketball Misses Out on Top Transfer Portal Target

After a honeymoon college hoops month in which much went right for new Kentucky basketball coach Mark Pope, something finally went decidedly wrong. The Wildcats lost out on a key player in the transfer portal, as North Florida scorer Chaz Lanier rebuffed Pope and UK and announced he was signing with Tennessee.

It is a tough blow for Kentucky, and in a way, the Lanier decision shows how much had changed for UK even prior to John Calipari, the coach, leaving for Arkansas in April. Lanier probably would have chosen Tennessee over any other Kentucky basketball coach, but he chose the reigning SEC champions because of coach Rick Barnes.

Lanier had visited not just Tennessee but also Kentucky and BYU.

Dalton Knecht, a former guard for North Colorado, had made his way thanks to Tennessee and Barnes. He is expected to be selected in the top five of the NBA draft next month. Lanier was persuaded by the Vols to follow Knecht’s lead, something Pope was unable to do.

“UT was the best because of the fit and the play style,” Lanier said, per ESPN. “I’ll be able to showcase my ability to put the ball in the basket at the highest level of college basketball, and also develop my defense under a hall of fame coach in Rick Barnes, who has a track record of sending players to the NBA.

“Tennessee never compared me to Dalton in terms of our play style or game, but we did talk about the route he took which is a very similar path. It’s possible I can do the same thing.”

Chaz Lanier Averaged 19.7 Points Last Season

Lanier is a polished 6-foot-4 scoring guard who averaged 19.7 points for the North Florida Ospreys last year. It was a breakout season for Lanier, as he had averaged just 4.2 points on 42.3% shooting in his first three seasons.

However, as a fourth-year junior, he found his rhythm, making 51.0% of his field goals and 44.0% of his three-pointers.

The most of his career has been spent as a reserve player, however he was an All-A-Sun player on the first team last year. Given that the A-Sun is regarded as the worst conference in the nation, there are concerns regarding how effectively his results from the previous season will translate in 2024–25.

tion, and it’s possible that Lanier’s output was unique.

Lanier is rated by few scouts as even a second-round choice in 2025, so he will need to put up big numbers if he is to break into the NBA.

Kentucky Basketball Still Has an Option

The Wildcats had certainly put their chips in on Lanier, as the team searches for a proven collegiate scorer. His efficiency as a shooter would most certainly have been welcome.

But Kentucky also is awaiting the decision of BYU star Jaxson Robinson, who has until Wednesday to decide whether he is keeping his name in for the NBA draft or whether he is returning to college. Once he makes that He is at the transfer portal and needs to select the college he will attend in 2024–2025.

Robinson’s coach with the Cougars has been Pope, of course, and if he decides not to enter the draft, Robinson is expected to go to Lexington with Pope.Robinson is not nearly as strong a shooter as Lanier, despite his 14.2 point average for BYU in the previous season. Last year, he shot 35.4% from 3-point range and 42.6% from the field. He has a career field goal percentage of 40.5% and a 3-point percentage of 34.3%.

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