Saturday, May 25, 2024

Kentucky basketball under Mark Pope: Transfer portal news, 2024 roster, recruits, targets by top SEC insiders

Roster transition happens in college basketball quickly and the Wildcats are reshaping their 2024-25 Kentucky basketball roster by the day under new coach Mark Pope. Former head coach John Calipari paraded five-star recruits through Lexington at a high rate. However, the one-and-done roster-building had downfalls as well due to the high yearly turnover and reliance on young players. Pope is now charged with constructing a roster that is built to win in March after Calipari failed to get out of the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament since 2019.

Kentucky basketball transfers, late additions to the Kentucky basketball recruiting class and re-recruiting the current roster are all on the agenda for Pope. The spring college basketball transfer portal opened March 18 and closes on May 1, so with Pope still getting his feet wet, he has plenty of ground to cover. If you love the Wildcats, or just want the latest roster updates and college basketball transfer portal news, be sure to see what the proven team of insiders are saying at CatsPause, the 247Sports affiliate that covers Kentucky.

The team of insiders at are providing up-to-the-minute scoop on the latest intel surrounding the Kentucky basketball coaching transition and roster changes. CatsPause has built a solid reputation over its 20+ years covering the Wildcats, and has deep-rooted sources inside and around the Kentucky athletic department. And right now, CatsPause is offering 60% off the first year of an annual subscriptions*, so now is the time to sign up.

The team at CatsPause has full coverage of who is coming and who is going on the Kentucky basketball roster. Head to CatsPause now to see all the insider info.

Kentucky basketball roster departures 

Antonio Reeves and Tre Mitchell are out of eligibility, while Rob Dillingham, Justin Edwards and Ugonna Onyenso have declared for the 2024 NBA Draft. Dillingham is viewed as the top NBA prospect of that bunch after averaging 15.2 points, 3.9 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game last season.

Freshman D.J. Wagner, a former top-five recruit in the 2023 class, has entered the college basketball transfer portal. Wagner earned MVP honors at the McDonald’s All-American Game in high school, so his departure will be felt by Kentucky’s basketball program. Several other players have entered the transfer portal following Calipari’s departure, including center Zvonimir Ivisic, guard Joey Hart, center Aaron Bradshaw and forward Adou Thiero. In addition, four of Kentucky’s six 2024 recruits have decommitted, so Pope will have his work cut out for him when constructing the Kentucky basketball lineup for next season. Join CatsPause to see the latest on all of Kentucky’s roster changes

Kentucky basketball news, roster

With a vast majority of Kentucky’s top 2023-24 players heading elsewhere, Reed Sheppard is the remaining player to watch. He’s projected to be a lottery pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, but his family knows Pope well and the Kentucky native could opt for another season in Lexington, especially given Pope’s emphasis on 3-point shooters in his offense.

Every other player slated to return from Kentucky’s 2023-24 roster played sparingly last year, so Pope needs to add impact players quickly. One of his former signees at BYU, guard Collin Chandler, has committed to join Pope at Kentucky. The Wildcats still have one remaining player from Calipari’s 2024 recruiting class — point guard Travis Perry, the No. 73 player in the nation, per 247Sports.

Jordan Burks, Brennan Canada, Kareem Watkins, Walker Horn, Grant Derbyshire are the other players who, as of now, are expected to return, though none averaged more than 2.0 points per game in 2023-24. Billy Richmond and Travis Perry, the No. 22 and No. 73 players in the nation, according to 247Sports, remain in the 2024 recruiting class for the time being. 

With at least eight scholarships available, Pope will actively look to add to the roster. For example, Pope reportedly has been in contact with TCU transfer JaKobe Coles, and he’ll be looking at all options remaining in the 2024 recruiting class and the portal to be competitive immediately in Lexington. Join CatsPause to get the latest on all of Kentucky’s roster additions

How to get insider Kentucky basketball roster updates

Pope could also be bringing at least one big-time BYU player with him, so be sure to join CatsPause to see who that is and get the rest of the insider roster news

Who are the top names Kentucky basketball is pursuing under coach Mark Pope, and what former BYU player could land in Lexington? Go to CatsPause to see their insider information, all from a team of reporters with years of experience covering the Wildcats, and find out. And reminder, CatsPause is offering 60% off the first year of an annual VIP membership*, so subscribe now before it’s too late.

*Terms: This offer is only available for new members who sign up for a CatsPause annual subscription. After the first year, subscription will re-bill on an annual basis at the regular rate. reserves the right to alter or cancel this promotion at any time. Please write with any questions you may have.

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