Kentucky Wildcats Basketball News Recap #1

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It’s been a rough few weeks for all sports fans since the cancellation of all sporting events in the country due to the Coronavirus pandemic. There has been a slow roll-in of news over this time period regarding Kentucky Wildcats Basketball, but it’s been relatively uneventful. However, we’re going to recap any of the big news that has come out over this time.

Recap: 5 Wildcats Enter Their Name in the 2020 NBA Draft

John Calipari made a statement recently that five Wildcats will be testing the NBA waters. They will all be able to return to school if they don’t like the feedback they hear. The obvious assumption is that Kentucky’s starting 5 are the ones who entered the draft. Immanuel Quickley, Ashton Hagans, Tyrese Maxey, Nick Richards, and EJ Montgomery. I think at least three of those players will end up returning, but you never know.

The issue lies in the whole sports shutdown over the Coronavirus. It’s unknown whether the NBA Combine will even happen. If the combine is postponed, the players may not make the deadline for returning to school and will lose their NCAA eligibility. This is a sticky situation and the NCAA is supposedly not budging on the deadline date, which could screw some kids out of their eligibility. This will be a situation to monitor closely in the coming weeks, because of the ramifications it could have on our team and players.

Recap: Freshman Johnny Juzang Announces Transfer

Freshman wing Johnny Juzang came out a couple days ago and announced his intent to transfer from the University of Kentucky. Juzang had a tumultuous first year as a Wildcat as an inconsistent scorer. He looked a bit lost at times but flashed some real potential, specifically towards the end of the year.

Juzang and his family cited homesickness as the reason behind this decision. This isn’t the first time a west-coast player has transferred from Kentucky under John Calipari. In fact, almost every west-coast recruit to come through the program in the last decade has ended up transferring. Kyle Wiltjer, Marcus Lee, Jemarl Baker, and now Johnny Juzang have all left the program to return to the west coast.

The Cats are losing a sharpshooter in Juzang who likely would’ve taken a huge leap in his Sophomore year. Three Point shooting is likely going to be a major concern once again for next year’s Kentucky team, especially if Immanuel Quickley goes to the NBA.

Recap: Rumors Say Quickley is Leaning Towards Staying in the Draft

Some have speculated that Immanuel Quickley has a legitimate chance of returning to Kentucky next season. Despite having an amazing year as UK’s leading scorer, Quickley is not heavily featured on any NBA Mock Drafts. NBA teams see Quickley has an undersized SG who lacks the skill-set to run the PG position at an NBA level. The reigning SEC Player of the Year may not have the chance to improve his draft stock if the NBA Combine is cancelled, so what should Immanuel do?

Rumors have circulated that Quickley is leaning towards staying in the draft. His camp believes that he should ride the momentum of his amazing season at Kentucky and take the chance. Other people think that he should return for one more year and be the primary PG on Kentucky’s team next year to prove he can run an offense at a high level. I’m not sure how legitimate these rumors are about IQ staying in the draft, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens.

Recap: Wildcats Senior Nate Sestina Will NOT Receive an Extra Year of Eligibility

The NCAA voted to give all spring sports players an extra year of eligibility to compensate for the lost season due to COVID-19. They also held a vote regarding winter sports, which includes basketball, to see if they should grant players in those sports an extra year as well. If passed, this would mean that Nate Sestina could return to Kentucky for another season as an extremely experienced leader for the team.

Unfortunately, the NCAA voted to NOT allow players participating in winter sports to have one more season. Their reasoning was that the players got to play most of the season, and that missing out on postseason play was not enough to earn them an extra year. It’s a shame, because it would’ve been nice to have Nate’s three point shooting on next year’s roster, which is severely lacking in shooters.

Thank You for Reading!

That’ll mark the end of this news roundup! There will probably be one of these roundups weekly or bi-weekly, depending on the flow of news.

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Tanin Smith
Lifelong Kentucky fan with a passion for opinions and stats! Twitter: TaninSmith

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