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Kentucky 2024-25 roster: Lamont Butler, star of San Diego State’s Final Four run, transfers to Wildcats

New Kentucky coach Mark Pope landed his second transfer portal commitment of the offseason on Friday when San Diego State star guard Lamont Butler committed to the Wildcats. The 2023-24 Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year averaged 9.3 points this past season for the Aztecs.

Butler is the second transfer portal commitment Pope has landed this month. Last weekend, Drexel star forward Amari Williams committed to the Wildcats. Williams, a three-time CAA Defensive Player of the Year, was the second newcomer UK landed since Pope’s arrival after Collin Chandler flipped his commitment from BYU to Kentucky. 

Chandler, a member of the 2022 recruiting cycle, spent the last two years on a Mormon mission. He was Pope’s highest-rated signee (No. 33 overall) during his tenure at BYU. 

With Kentucky star freshman Reed Sheppard declaring for the NBA Draft and Joey Hart transferring to Ball State, the Wildcats have zero returning scholarship players remaining.

Four-star guard Billy Richmond decommitted from the Wildcats’ once-heralded recruiting class a few hours after Chandler committed to the Wildcats. Chandler’s commitment comes after several members of UK’s 2024 recruiting class re-opened their recruitments following the departure of coach John Calipari for Arkansas. Travis Perry remains committed to UK, but four top 50 prospects formerly pledged to the Wildcats are now on track to play elsewhere next season.

Pope, who spent the past five seasons as BYU’s coach, played at UK under Rick Pitino from 1994 to 1996 and was a key part of the program’s 1996 national title run. With most of Kentucky’s 2023-24 roster either out of eligibility, in the transfer portal, or headed to the NBA Draft, his first order of business is building a roster for next season. 

CBS Sports is tracking the status of the Kentucky roster and recruiting class in real time. Here’s where every current UK player and commit currently stand. 

Incoming transfers

Amari Williams (Transfer from Drexel)

GP: 32 | GS: 32 | PPG: 12.2 | RPG: 7.8

The three-time CAA Defensive Player of the Year is a valuable addition for Kentucky. Williams brings experience (79 career starts) and will be one of the best defensive players in the SEC from Day 1. Williams has averaged at least 1.8 blocks per game during the last three seasons. Williams shot 51.7% from the floor on 8.4 attempts per game during the 2023-24 campaign. Williams ranked No. 57 in the CBS Sports Transfer Portal Rankings. 

Lamont Butler (Transfer from San Diego State)

GP: 37 | GS: 37 | PPG: 9.3 | APG: 3.0

Butler is responsible for one of the biggest shots in Final Four history. Butler hit a game-winning jumper at the 2023 Final Four against FAU to help his school advance to the national title game. Butler is a proven veteran who excelled on the defensive end in the Mountain West. Butler and Williams will give the UK two of the top defenders in the SEC.

Kentucky underclassmen

Brennan Canada

GP: 5 | GS: 0 | PPG: 0 | RPG: 0.4

Canada appeared in 25 total games over his five-year career with Kentucky. He made five appearances this season.

Kareem Watkins

GP: 6 | GS: 1 | PPG: 0 | RPG: 0.2

Watkins has appeared in 20 games over the last four seasons with Kentucky. He made six appearances this season.

Walker Horn

GP: 4 | GS: 0 | PPG: 0 | RPG: 0

Horn has made eight appearances over the last two seasons for Kentucky.

Grant Darbyshire

GP: 4 | GS: 0 | PPG: 0 | RPG: 0

Darbyshire made four appearances for Kentucky this season.

Kentucky players not expected to return

Reed Sheppard (Declared for NBA Draft)

GP: 33 | GS: 5 | PPG: 12.5 | RPG: 4.1 

Sheppard was named CBS Sports Freshman of the Year after putting up one of the most efficient stat lines in the country. Sheppard made only five starts in 33 games but had an impact whenever he stepped onto the court. Sheppard finished the season shooting 53.6% from the floor, 51.1% on 3-pointers (on 4.4 attempts), and 83.1% from the charity stripe. Sheppard finished five steals shy (82) of breaking the single-season record set by Rajon Rondo during the 2004-05 season. On Thursday, Sheppard officially declared for the NBA Draft.

Zvonimir Ivišić (Transferring to Arkansas)

GP: 15 | GS: 0 | PPG: 5.5 | RPG: 3.3

While Ivišić didn’t play a ton during his freshman season, he definitely made an impact when he played. Hours after he was ruled eligible by the NCAA on Jan. 20, Ivišić recorded 13 points, five rebounds, and a pair of assists in his collegiate debut.

Days after Ivišić entered the transfer portal, he announced he would follow Calipari and had committed to Arkansas.

Ugonna Onyenso (Declared for NBA Draft)

GP: 24 | GS: 14 | PPG: 3.6 | RPG: 4.8

The top shot-blocker on last season’s Kentucky team averaged 18.6 minutes per night. Onyenso made 14 starts after playing less than seven minutes as a freshman the year before, but has declared for the NBA Draft.

D.J. Wagner (In transfer portal)

GP: 29 | GS: 28 | PPG: 9.9 | RPG: 1.9

Within a few days after Calipari’s departure, his hiring at Arkansas and Pope’s arriving at UK, Wagner entered the transfer portal.

Wagner ranked as the No. 6 player coming out of high school and was one of the prized recruits from his class. The Wagner family has deep ties to Calipari, as D.J.’s father, Dajuan Wagner, played for Calipari when he was the coach at Memphis.

Rob Dillingham (Declared for NBA Draft)

GP: 32 | GS: 1 | PPG: 15.2 | RPG: 2.9 

The top-ranked player in CBS Sports’ NBA Draft prospect rankings is turning pro. Dillingham was named SEC 6th Man of the Year after putting up big numbers in his first season at Kentucky. The 6-3 guard made only a single start but was one of Kentucky’s best players the entire season. Dillingham is a crafty guard with a quick burst that can get to the rim whenever he pleases. Dillingham has received buzz over the last few months as a potential No. 1 overall pick. 

Aaron Bradshaw (Transferring to Ohio State)

GP: 26 | GS: 10 | PPG: 4.9 | RPG: 3.3

Bradshaw was the first player from Kentucky’s top-ranked 2023 recruiting class to enter his name in the transfer portal. Bradshaw missed the start of the season due to injury and appeared for the first time on Dec. 2 against UNC Wilmington. Bradshaw was the No. 5 recruit coming out of high school. Bradshaw is expected to transfer to Ohio State, according to 247Sports

Adou Thiero (In transfer portal)

GP: 25 | GS: 19 | PPG: 7.2 | RPG: 5

Thiero entered his name into the transfer portal last month and is the No. 53 player available in David Cobb’s transfer portal rankings. Thiero saw a larger role during his second season in Lexington, making 19 starts and 25 appearances while averaging career-highs in almost every statistical category.

Joey Hart (Transfering to Ball State)

GP: 7 | GS: 0 | PPG: 0.4 | RPG: 0

Hart will enter the transfer portal after playing sparingly as a freshman. The former three-star recruit committed to Kentucky out of high school over UCF, Ball State, Drake and Northwestern among others. Hart committed to Ball State on Thursday.

Justin Edwards (Declared for NBA Draft)

GP: 32 | GS: 30 | PPG: 8.8 | RPG: 3.4

Edwards was the first Kentucky player to declare for the draft and decided to turn pro days before Calipari left the program. The former highly-touted prospect showed flashes of his five-star billing throughout the season. Edwards projects as someone who will either get drafted late in the first round or early in the second round of this summer’s draft. Edwards is a perfect swing for the fences prospect.

Antonio Reeves (Out of eligibility)

GP: 33 | GS: 33 | PPG: 20.2 | RPG: 4.2

The leading scorer on Kentucky last season is out of eligibility. Reeves transferred to Kentucky in 2022 after spending the first three seasons at Illinois State. Reeves never entered his name into the transfer portal last summer but reportedly took summer classes at Illinois State, where he began his career. He finished his college career with a career-high in points and rebounds.

Tre Mitchell (Out of eligibility)

GP: 27 | GS: 24 | PPG: 10.7 | RPG: 7.2

Like Reeves, Mitchell is out of eligibility. Mitchell transferred to Kentucky for his final college season after stops at UMass, Texas, and West Virginia. Mitchell provided a valuable veteran presence for a young roster and started 24 out of the 27 games he appeared in.

Jordan Burks (In transfer portal)

GP: 20 | GS: 0 | PPG: 1.9 | RPG: 1.6 

Burks is a former three-star recruit from the 2023 recruiting cycle. He appeared in 20 games this season and scored a career-high 13 points in a win over Vanderbilt. Burks entered the transfer portal on Friday. Kentucky will have zero scholarship players returning on the roster from last season.

Kentucky’s incoming recruiting class

Under Calipari, Kentucky finished with a top-five recruiting class every cycle since 247Sports started tracking team rankings in 2010. The Wildcats landed the No. 1 recruiting class in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2020, and 2023 under his watch. But in an era when age and experience rule the day in college basketball, relying so heavily on one-and-done prospects began to hurt Kentucky in recent seasons.

Here is a look at Kentucky’s roster and incoming recruiting class with 247Sports rankings.

No. 33 Collin Chandler

Chandler is technically part of the 2022 recruiting class. But after spending two years on a Mormon mission, the Utah native will be a freshman in the 2024-25 season. The 6-4 guard ranked as a four-star prospect and was originally committed to BYU before requesting a release and becoming Pope’s first commitment at Kentucky. 247Sports recruiting analyst Brandon Jenkins described Chandler as “a competitive guard who always plays in attack mode.”

No. 73 Travis Perry

Perry was Kentucky’s lone signee from the Bluegrass State. He ranked as the No. 6 point guard in the 2024 cycle and committed to Kentucky over Alabama, Cincinnati, Ole Miss, and Western Kentucky. Perry is the all-time leading scorer in Kentucky high school boys’ basketball history.

Class of 2024 recruits no longer committed

No. 8 Jayden Quaintance 

The highest-ranked signee from Kentucky’s incoming recruiting class is unique because of his age. Quaintance won’t turn 17 years old until July, making him ineligible for the 2025 NBA Draft. NBA rules state that a player must be at least 19 years old during the calendar year of the draft, which opens the door for him to play two seasons in college. Quaintance committed to Kentucky over FloridaMissouri, and Ohio State. On Wednesday, Quaintance’s father, Haminn, told 247Sports that his son would be requesting his release from his NIL to Kentucky. Haminn recently posted on social media that their family would be “riding with the big dog (Calipari) until the wheels fall off.” Calipari will likely attempt to lure in Quaintance to come to Arkansas.

No. 20 Karter Knox (Committed to Arkansas)

The brother of former Kentucky one-and-done Kevin Knox II was the most recent player to pledge their commitment to Calipari in this class. Knox committed to Kentucky on March 9 over Louisville, USF, and a return to Overtime Elite. He was the highest-ranked high school player on the board available after former Indiana signee Liam McNeeley requested a release from his NLI. Knox’s brother, Kobe, is a current player at USF. Knox committed to Arkansas on Monday.

No. 22 Billy Richmond (Committed to Arkansas)

Richmond committed to Kentucky on Dec. 21 over Alabama, LSU, and Memphis but decommitted on April 16. The Richmond family has deep ties to Calipari. Richmond’s father, who is also named Billy Richmond, played for Calipari at Memphis from 2002 to 2004. Richmond is considered an athletic lefty wing with the chance to make an immediate impact when he steps onto campus this fall. Richmond committed to Arkansas on Friday.

No. 26 Boogie Fland (Committed to Arkansas)

The McDonald’s All-American is one of the best combo guards in the country and ranked only behind Rutgers signee Dylan Harper for the top player at the position. Fland committed to Kentucky over Alabama, UConn, IndianaMarylandMichiganNorth Carolina, and St. John’s. Fland was Kentucky’s second commitment in the 2024 cycle, but asked for his release less than a week after Calipari was introduced at Arkansas. Fland committed to Kentucky on Thursday.

No. 46 Somto Cyril 

The first commit of Kentucky’s 2024 recruiting class picked the Wildcats over Cincinnati, Florida, Georgetown, Indiana, Kansas, Memphis, Oklahoma StateOle Miss, and Tennessee. Cyril ranks as the No. 10 center in his class. Cyril was granted his release from his NLI and de-committed from Kentucky on Wednesday.

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