We have had quite the eventful week in Kentucky Basketball news. This article will roundup of all of the stories surrounding the program from the last week or two.
Kentucky Adds Creighton Grad Transfer Davion Mintz
The first bit of news we got was that Kentucky will add a Grad Transfer Point Guard from Creighton. His name is Davion Mintz. Mintz was a solid player for the Bluejays, and will bring experience to a very youthful backcourt next season. Mintz averaged 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists in his last season at Creighton. He is a solid defender and playmaker, and can hit open shots. We’ve been begging for some experienced guards at Kentucky, and we’re getting one. Mintz will play his final year of college in a Kentucky uniform.
Some worry that Mintz isn’t at the level of a typical Calipari point guard, but I think it’s a good thing that we’ll have a guy who’s been there before. If he isn’t a star for us, he’ll be a good backup who’ll provide leadership and depth to the team.
Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery Forego Remaining Eligibility
A week after learning that guards Ashton Hagans and Immanuel Quickley are remaining in the 2020 NBA draft, the announcement came from our starters in the frontcourt that they will be officially leaving as well.
We expected Nick Richards to leave, as his development into an All-SEC player showed he was ready. On the other hand, many feel that EJ Montgomery made a mistake by electing not to return for another season.
EJ was on the brink of breaking out, as he ended the season on a positive stretch. It’s unlikely that Montgomery gets picked in this upcoming draft, so it’s uncertain why he made this choice. The answer is likely that he is confident in himself and the people around him feel the same way. It’s unfortunate that we will not get to see EJ have a big breakout season like Nick did this year. Best of luck to Nick and EJ.
Terrence Clarke Confirms His Commitment to Kentucky
There was a rumor going around earlier this week that prized Kentucky commit Terrence Clarke had received a lucrative offer from the NBA G-League to play for them next season. The NBA has already contacted multiple talented recruits with a similar offer, and 5 stars Jalen Green and Isaiah Todd are the first recruits to accept the deal from the G-League.
Clarke, who is a top 5 recruit across most recruiting services, was supposedly offered a deal similar to the ones that Clarke and Todd accepted. Fortunately, Terrence announced on his Twitter that he is 100% committed to Kentucky and will play for us next season. It would’ve been a massive blow to an already depleted roster if Clarke had accepted the NBA’s offer.
Rhode Island Transfer Jacob Toppin Commits to Kentucky
In a bit of surprising news this week, Rhode Island Forward Jacob Toppin announced his intention to transfer to Kentucky after his Freshman season at URI. Toppin is the younger brother of Dayton star Obi Toppin, who won NCAA Player of the Year this past college season.
Jacob was a 3 star recruit and had a mediocre freshman season at Rhode Island. He averaged 5 points and 4 rebounds, and was inefficient as a shooter. Toppin is 6’7 and 188 lbs, and is a solid athlete. His highlight package from his year at URI is impressive, showing off elite dunking ability and a solid three point shot. He only shot 24% from three, but it’s obvious that its in his arsenal.
Many UK fans on the internet have shown their disbelief that Coach Cal would go after someone like Toppin, but I think its obvious that he is extremely talented. A big issue with Calipari teams in the past has been the lack of experienced glue guys who can play solid minutes and provide consistency for the team. I think adding Toppin was a good move. He can develop into a guy who will be a good piece for us down the road. At the very least, he provides depth at the forward position for a couple of seasons.
Kentucky Currently the Favorite to Land Purdue Grad Transfer Matt Haarms
With the loss of Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery, there isn’t a single player over 6’9 on next year’s roster. That’s where Purdue big man Matt Haarms comes in. Haarms is a whopping 7’3 and is considered an elite rim protector. He averaged 9ppg and 4rpg, along with 2bpg in his last season with the Boilermakers. Those stats aren’t jaw dropping, but a guy who can protect the rim and disrupt shots is a bonus to any team.
Haarms is also able to stretch out and hit the three, which is another bonus. This means he can be utilized in pick-and-pop situations to go along with the pick-and-roll. Add in the ability to protect the rim, and we’ve got ourselves a nice big man down in the middle.
Haarms has not committed to Kentucky, but many believe that we are the favorites to land him. He has stated that he doesn’t want to drag this recruitment process out, and may commit as soon as this weekend. Adding Haarms to next year’s roster would be a much-needed pickup.
2021 Five Star SG Jaden Hardy Includes UK in Top 12
Jaden Hardy is one of the most talked about names when it comes to 2021 recruits that may come to Kentucky. The Wildcats have been considered the favorites in his recruitment for quite awhile now, and it’s still looking good on that front. Last night, Hardy released his list of final schools, and UK made the list of 12. The other schools on the list were Arizona, Arizona State, Georgia, UCLA, Texas Tech, Georgetown, Oregon, Michigan, Memphis, Kansas, and Illinois.
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