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John Calipari lands first big splash in portal at Arkansas: Tennessee big Jonas Aidoo transfers to Razorbacks

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Second Round-Texas vs Tennessee
USATSI

John Calipari’s latest piece at Arkansas could ultimately prove to be among his most important. Tennessee transfer Jonas Aidoo committed to the Razorbacks on Monday, sources told CBS Sports. Aidoo was one of the best defensive big men in the country last season while playing under Rick Barnes. At center, Aidoo averaged 11.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks on a 27-win Volunteers team that was a No. 2 seed and made the Elite Eight. 

At Arkansas, Aidoo could reinforce his reputation as one of the premier stalwarts in the SEC — and nationally. It’s the first huge portal pickup for Calipari since he accepted the Arkansas job more than three weeks ago. Aidoo is ranked 25th on David Cobb’s list of the best 2024 transfers in college basketball.

Aidoo — a Durham, North Carolina, native — also seriously considered Baylor and UNC. Sources also said his NIL price was among the biggest of any big men in this year’s portal cycle. He joins Kentucky transfer Zvonimir Ivišić on Arkansas’ roster, in addition to three former UK commits who flipped to follow Calipari to Arkansas: five-star wing Karter Knox, four-star small forward Billy Richmond and four-star combo guard Boogie Fland. (See the latest with Arkansas’ roster analysis here.)

Calipari and his staff are expected to land more notable names in the portal in the coming days. Arkansas has remained an appealing destination even after losing Eric Musselman to USC for two reasons: Calipari’s track record of recruiting NBA-level talent and Arkansas now claiming one of the deepest NIL war chests in college hoops. 

Entry to the transfer portal closes for all players in college basketball at 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday night. Players are free to take the ensuing weeks/months to make their decisions on where they play next.

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