The first roster domino of the week has fallen for the Kentucky Wildcats, as junior forward Keion Brooks Jr. has announced he will enter the NBA Draft while maintaining his college eligibility. He is the first player to test the waters, with the early-entry deadline for underclassmen set for April 24. The transfer portal and rumor mill are also churning forward, with Morehead State star Johni Broome hitting the portal on Monday, a name of interest for the Wildcats in the frontcourt.
Here’s where we stand with Kentucky’s 2022-23 roster, and the latest that Jack Pilgrim is hearing behind the scenes.
- April 24: NBA Early Entry Deadline
- May 1: Transfer Portal deadline (Date by which players must tell their school they’re leaving)
- May 16-22: NBA Draft Combine
- June 1: NCAA “Stay or Go” Deadline
- June 23: 2022 NBA Draft
Daimion Collins (F, Fr.) – On March 20, 247 Sports’ Travis Branham reported that Daimion Collins will return to Kentucky for a sophomore season. On his final radio show of the season, John Calipari said he believes Collins can be “one of the best players in the country” next year because “the things he does, normal players can’t do.”
- 2021-22 season: 2.9 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 0.7 BPG, 7.5 MPG
Dontaie Allen (G, R So.) – Allen announced he was entering the transfer portal on March 24, ending his career at Kentucky. In two seasons, he averaged 3.9 points off 35.8% shooting and 1.4 rebounds in 10.5 minutes per game.
- 2021-22 season: 2.2 PPG, 1.2 RPG, 6.4 MPG
- 2020-21 season: 5.4 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 14.0 MPG
Davion Mintz (G, Gr.) – Mintz used his sixth year of eligibility to return to Kentucky for the 2021-22 season. From here, he will explore professional options.
- 2021-22 season: 8.5 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 1.8 APG, 24.7 MPG
- 2020-21 season: 11.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 3.1 APG, 30.7 MPG
Kellan Grady (G, Gr.) – Grady was a grad transfer this season and has no eligibility remaining. Kentucky’s third-leading scorer will now pursue his professional options.
- 2021-22 season: 11.4 PPG (44.6% FG, 41.7% 3PT FG) , 2.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 32.9 MPG
Keion Brooks (F, Jr.) – In his junior season, Brooks was Kentucky’s fourth-leading scorer and started 33 games. Brooks announced Monday he would be testing the draft waters while maintaining his college eligibility.
- 2021-22 season: 10.8 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 24.5 MPG
- 2020-21 season: 10.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 23.6 MPG
- 2019-20 season: 4.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 15.1 MPG
Pilgrim’s Insider Notes: Brooks weighed a potential transfer last offseason before ultimately deciding to return to Kentucky. A potential break-up is again on the table this offseason should he decide to pull his name out of the draft.
Chris Livingston (SF, HS) – The five-star small forward committed to Kentucky on Sept. 15, 2021, and signed on Nov. 11. Livingston plays for Oak Hill Academy, whose season concluded today at the 2022 GEICO Nationals in Florida. He is one of three finalists for the 2021-22 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award. At the McDonald’s All-American Game, Livingston scored 13 points on 5-9 shooting and 2-4 from three to go with six rebounds, five assists, and one block. If not for an off-night from the free-throw line (1-7), he might have won MVP (you can read our scouting report here). He and Wallace will also represent Kentucky at the Jordan Brand Classic on April 15.
- 2021-22 season (high school): 18.2 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.9 SPG
Cason Wallace (CG, HS) – The five-star combo guard from Dallas, TX committed to Kentucky on Nov. 10, 2021, and signed on Nov. 11. In the McDonald’s All-American Game, he scored seven points on 3-10 shooting and 1-2 from three to go with six assists, five rebounds, and one steal (you can read our scouting report here). He and Livingston will also represent Kentucky at the Jordan Brand Classic on April 15.
- 2021-22 season (high school): 19.9 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 6.1 APG
CJ Fredrick (SG, R. Jr.) – Fredrick underwent surgery to repair a left hamstring injury in November and spent the 2021-22 season rehabbing. By the end of the season, he was occasionally seen shooting threes during Kentucky’s warm-ups.
Pilgrim’s Insider Notes: Fredrick is expected to return to Kentucky in 2022-23. He is on track to be back at full strength when the team returns to campus this summer.
Bryce Hopkins (F, Fr.) – Hopkins played in 28 of Kentucky’s 34 games this season. His best performance came against LSU when he scored 13 points and pulled down 4 rebounds in 16 minutes to help the Cats beat the Tigers without TyTy Washington or Sahvir Wheeler. He has yet to announce any plans regarding his future.
- 2021-22 season: 2.1 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 6.4 MPG
Pilgrim’s Insider Notes: Hopkins has been a rumored transfer since the start of the spring semester and the ongoing expectation has been that he will explore his options in the portal. A final decision will come down to a clear plan of attack for Hopkins’ role and development in Lexington, with roster outlook being a key factor.
Shaedon Sharpe (SG, Fr.) – Sharpe enrolled at Kentucky in January. Prior to reclassifying, he was the No. 1 recruit in the 2022 class. When he arrived in Lexington, Sharpe said his plan was to practice with the team this season and play next season. In February, John Calipari ended speculation that Sharpe would play in 2021-22 but doubled down on him being on next year’s squad. On his final radio show of the season, Calipari said he sat down with Sharpe and his family and they decided it would be in his best interest to test the NBA Draft waters to receive feedback, but there has been no official announcement. He is currently No. 6 in ESPN’s latest NBA Mock Draft.
Pilgrim’s Insider Notes: Sharpe and his camp have been publicly adamant about returning to Kentucky in 2022-23 from the start. John Calipari has publicly expressed similar optimism regarding the prized signee’s return after a redshirt season in Lexington. Despite clear and strong skepticism in national basketball circles, the school privately remains optimistic — or better put, hopeful — Sharpe will ultimately decide to turn down the draft and play for Kentucky next season.
With such a small sample size of live game film, NBA teams are uncertain about Sharpe as a top-five pick, and potentially even top-ten. It’s an area of the draft jobs are kept and lost in the league, and Sharpe is a risk with no college experience — practice scrimmages don’t suffice. They know he can dominate in workouts, but can he be a day-one contributor in the NBA? Kentucky believes — or hopes — those questions will be what ultimately keeps him in Lexington next year, putting him in prime position to be a top pick in 2023.
It’s a battle of local vs. national. Kentucky is cautiously optimistic, while national sources are wildly pessimistic — many have been convinced Sharpe was gone the minute he enrolled early. Reality is likely somewhere in the middle.
Jacob Toppin (F, Jr.) – Toppin was Kentucky’s seventh man this season, appearing in all but five games. He transferred to Kentucky from Rhode Island in 2020 and received a waiver to play immediately. He has yet to announce any plans regarding his future.
- 2021-22 season: 6.2 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 17.7 MPG
- 2020-21 season: 5.2 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 17.1 MPG
Pilgrim’s Insider Notes: Toppin is expected to return in 2022-23, building on a solid junior season in Lexington.
Oscar Tshiebwe (C, Jr.) – Oscar is the frontrunner for National Player of the Year and had a record-setting season in Lexington. He led Kentucky in scoring (17.4), rebounding (15.1), steals (1.8), and blocks (1.6). Oscar is currently projected to be a mid-second-round pick in the NBA Draft by ESPN. His decision is complicated. If he returns to Kentucky and his NIL situation is resolved (he’s currently on a student visa and therefore can’t “work,” meaning he can’t do commercials, public appearances, etc.), he could make more money than he might if he was drafted in the second round; however, that’s a big if given his current situation.
- 2021-22 season: 17.4 PPG, 15.1 RPG, 1.8 SPG, 1.6 BPG, 31.9 MPG
Pilgrim’s Insider Notes: Tshiebwe’s decision will come down to NIL. If federal legislation is passed or a clear loophole is found — one all parties involved are comfortable signing off on — that will allow him to make money with zero restrictions, the expectation is that he returns to Kentucky. It’s what Tshiebwe prefers.
If not, he will almost certainly go pro. It’s a complicated decision, one out of the standout center’s hands at this point in time.
Lance Ware (F, So.) – In his second season at Kentucky, Ware took a backseat to Oscar Tshiebwe in the frontcourt but flourished as the Cats’ enforcer. He has yet to announce any plans regarding his future.
- 2021-22 season: 1.5 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 6.3 MPG
- 2020-21 season: 2.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 12.1 MPG
Pilgrim’s Insider Notes: Barring an influx of frontcourt talent via the transfer portal, Ware is expected to return to Kentucky for the 2022-23 season.
TyTy Washington (G, Fr.) – TyTy Washington shined in his freshman season in Lexington, even breaking John Wall’s single-season record with 17 assists, but was hampered by a leg injury throughout the second half of the year. Currently, he is projected to go 14th in the NBA Draft by ESPN, but Jonathan Givony notes that his stock is falling after an underwhelming postseason. He has yet to announce any plans regarding his future, but on March 27 shared then deleted a picture atop his Porsche outside the lodge on his Instagram story with the caption, “Off to the league.”
- 2021-22 season: 12.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 3.9 APG, 29.2 MPG
Pilgrim’s Insider Notes: The expectation from the start has been that Washington is a one-and-done. Injuries and inconsistent shooting hurt his draft stock a bit, but he’s still seen as a consensus first-round prospect. NIL has been good to the freshman guard, but it’s not expected to keep him in school. Washington is expected to test the draft waters and ultimately go pro.
Sahvir Wheeler (PG, Jr.) – After transferring in from Georgia, Wheeler became Kentucky’s primary point guard, ranking third in the country in assists (6.9). Like Washington, he missed time due to injuries, initially to his neck vs. LSU and later his wrist at Tennessee. He has yet to announce any plans regarding his future.
- 2021-22 season: 10.1 PPG, 6.9 APG, 2.6 RPG, 31.2 MPG
Pilgrim’s Insider Notes: Before NIL, Wheeler had one-year dreams in Lexington, looking to play his way into draft status or at the very least build his brand as a potential pro in one season. With NIL, the door has opened for a second year at Kentucky — depending on John Calipari’s vision for the 2022-23 roster, of course. The UK head coach hit reset on the team after a historically poor 2020-21 campaign, and after suffering a brutal opening-round loss to Saint Peter’s in the NCAA Tournament, another shakeup is possible. If shooting and ball security at the point guard position outweigh playmaking in Calipari’s vision of next year’s team, a parting of ways is on the table.
High School Recruits
Adou Thiero (G) – On March 26, Calipari publicly extended a scholarship offer to 6’5″ guard Adou Thiero, whose father, Almamy, played for Calipari at Memphis. Calipari went to watch Thiero play in the Pennsylvania Class 4A title game on March 24, where he finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks for Quaker Valley. Thiero also holds offers from Cincinnati, Maryland, Pitt, Duquesne, and UC Santa Barbara and has garnered interest from Indiana, Marquette, Ohio State, and West Virginia, among others.
- 2021-22 Season: 23.3 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 5.9 APG, 3.9 SPG, 2.3 BPG
Pilgrim’s Insider Notes: Thiero’s announcement of a Kentucky offer opened the floodgates for other high-major offers and interest, most notably scholarships from Maryland, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati. Calipari’s connection with Thiero’s father, Almamy, is clear, but the expectation is that the unranked guard signs somewhere he can be an immediate contributor.
Leonard Miller (F) – On March 25, members of Kentucky’s staff visited Miller, a 6’10” power forward from Ontario, Canada, who plays for Fort Erie International Academy. Miller is considered a five-star recruit and the No. 11 overall prospect in the 2022 class by On3 and his stock is on the rise following a six-inch growth spurt. On March 30, he included Kentucky in his top ten, which consists of eight schools (Kentucky, Oklahoma State, Gonzaga, Auburn, Alabama, Kansas, TCU, and Providence) and two pro routes (G League Ignite and Overtime Elite). Kentucky and Gonzaga have yet to extend an offer.
Pilgrim’s Insider Notes: Miller is seriously considering his professional options, with Kentucky looming as an outside threat should he opt for the college route. John Calipari and Chin Coleman took a trip to Fort Erie on March 25 to see the five-star prospect in person. Alabama is also seen as a contender.
Transfer Portal Options
Fardaws Aimaq, Utah Valley (C, Gr.) – The WAC Player of the Year entered the transfer portal on March 18. Kentucky has reportedly shown interest and according to 24/7 High School Hoops, the Cats are among the five schools he’s focusing on the most along with Arkansas, Iowa, Texas Tech, and Washington. The 6’11” 245 lbs. center averaged 18.9 points and 13.6 rebounds per game and ranked second in the country in double-doubles behind Oscar Tshiebwe this season. He has two years of eligibility remaining.
- 2021-22 season: 18.9 PPG, 13.6 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.3 BPG
Xavier Pinson, LSU (G, Sr.) – On March 24, Pinson entered the transfer portal and by that night, had already heard from Kentucky, Michigan State, Xavier, and Arizona State, according to Mac Irvin Fire, which was once coached by current Kentucky assistant Chin Coleman. Despite transferring a year ago from Missouri to LSU, Pinson is expected to be granted another immediate eligibility waiver due to the recent firing of LSU head coach Will Wade. He will have one year of eligibility remaining. At LSU, he faced Kentucky twice, dropping 11 points, four rebounds, four assists, and three steals in a win before posting 26 points and eight rebounds on 12-13 shooting from the free-throw line in a loss. Additionally, he went 1-2 against Kentucky during his time with Mizzou.
- 2021-22 season: 9.8 PPG, 4.8 APG, 2.4 RPG, 28.1 MPG
Terrence Shannon Jr., Texas Tech (G, Jr.) – Shannon entered the transfer portal on March 25, the day after his team’s loss to Duke in the Sweet 16. So far, he has heard from Kentucky, UConn, Illinois, and Michigan. Like Pinson, he’s a Chicago native and also played for Mac Irvin Fire, which was once coached by current Kentucky assistant Chin Coleman. Kentucky and Illinois are considered the favorites but he’s also not ruling out a return to Texas Tech, he told Jon Rothstein.
- 2021-22 season: 10.4 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 2.0 APG, 25.0 MPG
Antonio Reeves, Illinois State (SG/SF, Jr.) – Kentucky has reportedly reached out to another wing from Chicago, Illinois State’s Antonio Reeves. Reeves entered the transfer portal on March 21 after a stellar junior season with the Redbirds. He led Illinois State in scoring at 20.1 points per game, the most in the Missouri Valley Conference and top 20 in all of Division I. Reeves has also heard from Duke, Texas Tech, Memphis, Alabama, North Carolina, Ohio State, Illinois, and Missouri, among others.
- 2021-22 Season: 20.1 PPG (46.9% FG, 39.0% 3PT FG), 3.5 RPG, 1.1 SPG
Adam Miller, LSU (PG, Soph.) – Miller entered the transfer portal on March 29. The 6’2″ point guard transferred to LSU from Illinois last year but should receive a waiver due to Will Wade’s firing. Last summer, there was buzz Miller could follow Orlando Antigua and Chin Coleman to Kentucky, but he went with the Tigers instead, and unfortunately, tore his ACL in the preseason. As Kentucky looks to rebuild its backcourt, he could be an option once again.
- 2020-21 season (Illinois): 8.3 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 0.8 APG
Nijel Pack, Kansas State (PG, Soph.) – Pack entered the portal on March 31. The First Team All-Big 12 selection averaged 17.4 points per game this past season for Kansas State while shooting 43.6% from three. Kentucky has not yet reached out, with Gonzaga, Arizona, Purdue, Xavier, Tennessee, Miami, Ohio State, NC State and Marquette reportedly expressing early interest.
- 2021-22 season: 17.4 PPG (45.5% FG, 43.6% 3PT FG), 3.8 RPG, 2.2 APG
Johni Broome, Morehead State (PF, Frosh.) – Broome announced he would be testing the NBA Draft waters on March 31 before putting his name in the transfer portal on April 4. The OVC Defensive Player of the Year quickly becomes arguably the top frontcourt player in the portal, a prolific shot-blocker who broke MSU’s single-season block record and led the conference in rebounding. Despite the in-state ties — MSU coach Preston Spradlin worked under John Calipari at Kentucky for five seasons — UK was not among the first schools to reach out.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Borzello, Gonzaga, Ohio State, Auburn, Texas, Texas Tech, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Iowa State, Houston, LSU, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida, Virginia Tech, Indiana and Arkansas have all been in contact.
- 2021-22 season: 16.8 PPG (55.5% FG, 63.6% FT), 10.5 RPG, 3.9 BPG, 1.2 APG