Skip to main content

Mark Pope 'dialed in' on filling two more roster spots for Kentucky

On3 imageby:Sam Gillenwater05/13/24


Predicting the win total ceiling, floor for Kentucky Wildcats in 2024 | 05.08.24

Kentucky now has 10 players from the efforts of Mark Pope and his staff ahead of his first season. Now, the focus for the Wildcats’ new head coach are his last two roster spots with a third opening still available as well.

Pope spoke with CBS’ Sports Jon Rothstein on ‘College Hoops Today’ about everything regarding his new job on Monday. That included the next thing to do as far as his team, which he says is filling two more scholarships. That would leave a third one for them to use as they see fit moving forward.

“We’re at 10 scholarships right now. I have two really, really important pieces I have to add. Then I have a 13th scholarship to kinda be a floating piece,” Pope said. “The way we envision it is it could be a place for a young player, it could be a place for a more senior player that is gonna take a redshirt year, it could be a place for a project, or it could be a place for maybe a high-risk guy.”

“That’s kinda how we’re seeing it but we’re really dialed in on filling these last two spots as a priority right now,” said Pope.

Cnce the dust settled following the change from John Calipari to Pope, there only one player on the roster. Travis Perry, a four-star, in-state recruit, was the only person set to be on the team at that point. However, that was a clean slate for the new coaches to work with and that they’ve filled out since then.

Kentucky has since added two more freshmen to their recruiting class. Collin Chandler arrives with Pope from BYU after a two-year mission. Another prospect from the bluegrass then joined in Trent Noah, who is the latest pickup after the release from his letter of intent at South Carolina.

From there, the Wildcats have added seven transfers. In total, they make up the No. 38 class in On3’s 2024 Team Transfer Portal Rankings. They’ve brought in Amari Williams (Drexel), Lamont Butler (San Diego State), Otega Oweh (Oklahoma), Andrew Carr (Wake Forest), Brandon Garrison (Oklahoma State), Koby Brea (Dayton), and Kerr Kriisa (West Virginia) to this point.

That collection makes up several of the top portal additions, both overall and at their positions, of this offseason. Garrison (No. 20, No. 5 C), Williams (No. 30, No. 5 PF), Brea (No. 47, No. 11 SG) all made the Top-50 in in On3’s 2024 Transfer Portal Top Players. Carr (No. 62, No. 14 SF), and Butler (No. 93, No. 21 PG) also rated with them in the Top-100. Oweh (No. 108, No. 17 SG) and Kriisa (No. 114, No. 28 PG) just missed that cut in the Top-115.

As for the three remaining spots, there are four players who are reportedly in connection with Kentucky. Three of those are testing for the NBA Draft in BYU’s Jaxson Robinson, North Florida’s Chaz Lanier (No. 8, No. 3 SG), and Miami’s Wooga Poplar (No. 38, No. 8 SG). The fourth is Fairleigh Dickinson’s Ansley Almonor, who will make a visit to Lexington on Tuesday.

Kentucky is putting the finishing touches on their first team of the Pope era. That includes two to three more pieces depending on how some these decisions play out in the coming weeks.