Two Kentucky transfer portal additions pull names out of the NBA Draft

These two portal additions will play for Kentucky next season.

Two athletes who used the transfer portal to pledge to the Kentucky Wildcats have removed their names from consideration for the NBA Draft. Lamont Butler and Amari Williams both withdrew from the draft and will be players for the Wildcats in the upcoming campaign.

Butler will provide some offensive production to this club in addition to being a superb guard defender. He will have an excellent year at Lexington after putting on a lot of excellent basketball for San Diego State.

Regarding Butler’s contributions, Coach Pope stated that “Lamont Butler is the definition of a winner.” He might be the best perimeter defensive player in all of college basketball. Lamont has helped lead championship teams for the last four years and hit one of the most epic shots in the NCAA Tournament to send his team to the championship game. He is an elite student who takes his academics seriously. He cares about the community and will embrace the power of wearing ‘Kentucky’ across the front of his chest. I’m extremely excited to coach Lamont and to see the influence he’s going to have on this team.”

Williams is also an elite defender around the rim who will block a lot of shots with his long wing span. He will be able to score around the rim and will be one of the best rim protectors in the SEC.

Coach Pope had this to say about Williams, “At times, Amari Williams looks like a man among boys on the court. He is a three-time conference defensive player of the year, which is incredibly hard to do. He is bringing a big presence to the game and will act as a rebounder and rim protector.Amari is a talented defensive player who can play any position on the floor, from one to five, which will provide the other players a sense of security. In terms of offense, he is a special passer in college basketball and a threat at the rim.Amari fits well into what we want to do on either end of the court and is capable of making all the reads, passes, and plays.

Big Blue Nation will now have to wait on Jaxson Robinson’s decision, since if he withdraws from the NBA Draft, he will probably be the final player on this roster.


Kentucky releases Mark Pope’s contract details

While Mark Pope has been on the job as the Kentucky head basketball coach for over a month, his official contract details were just released.

On Tuesday, the university released the contract info for Pope and his coaching staff. Pope’s contract, which was already reported to be a five-year deal, will run from April 12, 2024 to March 31, 2029.

Over the course of his contract, Pope will earn $27.5 million — with a $5 million salary and increase of $250k per season.

While Kentucky is part of the ‘blue blood’ club in college basketball it has failed to make it out of the first weekend since the 2018-19 season. After Covid hit ahead of the 2020 NCAA Tournament, UK missed the 2021 NCAA Tournament and have had a first-round exit in two of the last three seasons.

So, because of that, if Pope makes it to a Sweet Sixteen a bonus will hit. He’ll receive an additional $250k for each Sweet Sixteen appearance.

Though that’s a nice bump, that’s not what Pope is here for. As he stated when he took the job, ‘hanging a banner’ at Kentucky should be the expectation every season.

“The University of Kentucky is the pinnacle of coaching in college basketball,” Pope said. “It’s the definition of blueblood program where hanging a banner is the expectation ever year.”

Other incentives for Pope include: $500k for a National Championship, $250k for a Final Four, $100k for a regular-season SEC Championship and $50k for a SEC Tournament title.

Kentucky is coming off of 23-10 record and first round upset loss in the NCAA Tournament to Oakland. Pope led BYU to the NCAA Tournament this past year after a 23-11 season.

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