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Men's Basketball

Kentucky vs Arkansas: Postgame Recap



© Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Just three days after losing at home on Senior Night, the Kentucky basketball team went into Fayetteville and pulled out an unlikely win over Arkansas to close out the regular season. The Wildcats beat the Razorbacks with a final score of 88-79.

Kentucky came in even more limited at the guard position than usual. Sahvir Wheeler has been out multiple weeks with a lingering ankle injury and just recently had a medical procedure that will cause him to miss more time. In the loss to Vanderbilt, Cason Wallace suffered an ankle sprain that kept him sidelined in this game.

For the first time this season, Kentucky was without a true point guard. Of those that receive true playing minutes, Antonio Reeves, CJ Fredrick, and Adou Thiero were the only guards available for the game. Fredrick is coming off recovery of a cracked rib and still isn’t considered 100%.


Despite the limitations, the Wildcats overcame the odds and pulled out a huge win that very few expected.

Kentucky had a much more efficient night shooting the basketball. On 54 shots, the Cats went 53.7% from the field. They also got it done at the free throw line shooting 78.8% on 33 attempts.

Comparatively, Arkansas took 70 shots in the game, only making 35.7% and shooting 64.7% from the free throw line on 34 attempts.

With the win, Kentucky has locked themselves in for the 3-seed and a double-bye in next week’s SEC Tournament.


Let’s take a look at what all occurred in the win.

Things Got Chippy

Arkansas is known for being a very physical team. In their last matchup that took place in Lexington on February 7th, Arkansas’ physicality was too much for Kentucky. The Wildcats lost that matchup 88-73.

Coming into Fayetteville, Kentucky refused to let that happen again. The Cats were able to match the physicality of the Razorbacks and it led to a chippy game from start to finish.

When it was all said and done, a total of five technical fouls were called in addition to a single Flagrant-1 call.


From the tip, Oscar Tshiebwe and Arkansas’ Makhel Mitchell were going at it. Tensions came to a boil at the 16:12 mark of the first half. In an attempt to secure position in the post, Mitchell pushed and threw his weight into Tshiebwe in which Tshiebwe would retaliate with an elbow into Mitchell’s neck area.

Mitchell would be assessed a common foul, while Tshiebwe would receive a dead ball technical foul. Arkansas’ Anthony Black would receive a technical foul, also, for getting involved in the scuffle.

Many people across social media and including the CBS announcers believe Tshiebwe’s action deserved to be classified as a flagrant foul. Tshiebwe would be called for a Flagrant-1 later in the game for a separate incident that appeared much less intentional.

Shortly after returning from the halftime break, Arkansas’ Davonte Davis and Kentucky’s Antonio Reeves got nose-to-nose before being broken up by the pinstripes.


Moments later, Davis would be called for a foul that he expressively disagreed with. He would be assessed a technical foul and then ejected after a second technical foul minutes later for continuing to voice his displeasure with the call.

Kentucky’s Lance Ware would receive a technical foul in the second half after making some “colorful” comments towards Arkansas’ Anthony Black.

Kentucky needed toughness to get this win, and that is exactly what they brought to Arkansas. “We understand teams are going to be aggressive with us, but we’re not going for any of it,” said Jacob Toppin. “They tried to punk us, and we weren’t having it.

Antonio Reeves

With the lack of an available point guard, someone had to step up and be the one to make plays. Senior guard Antonio Reeves answered the call.


Reeves went nuclear, scoring a career high of 37 points. He went 12-17 from the field and 11-11 at the free throw line. The Arkansas defenders couldn’t find an answer for him all day. Reeves never left the game as he played all 40 minutes.

Other Wildcats contributed significantly to the win as well.

Notably, Jacob Toppin scored 21 points of his own on 6-9 shooting and going 7-8 from the stripe. He and Reeves combined to shoot 4-7 from the three point line. Toppin also shared some of the ball-handling duties with Reeves. He added 4 assists and 4 rebounds in the contest, as well as a block and a steal.

Oscar Tshiebwe got his 18th double-double of the season in only 26 minutes played. Tshiebwe faced foul trouble throughout the game and fouled out with 4:58 left in the game. Nevertheless, he was able to score 12 points and grab 13 rebounds.


CJ Fredrick only scored two points in 15 minutes played. However, he had the highest “+/-” stat of any player in the game with +16. Even though Fredrick had limited time due to his gradual recovery from injury, he was able to contribute to the win. He added four assists and a steal to the stat sheet.

Fredrick would receive the “Most Impactful Player” award from his coaches and teammates.

Box Score


Men's Basketball

Kentucky Basketball Hiring Top Assistant Coach Alvin Brooks III from Baylor



Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky may not have been able to pull Scott Drew away from Baylor, but they were able to pull Alvin Brooks III, one of the best assistant coaches in the country. First reported by CBS Sports on Wednesday morning, Brooks has accepted an associate head coach position at Kentucky, the same role in which he had at Baylor.

Brooks comes to Kentucky with a great reputation as a recruiter, helping Baylor bring in some elite talent over the last couple of seasons, most notably, McDonald’s All-Americans VJ Edgecombe (2024), Ja’Kobe Walter (2023), and Keyonte George (2022).

Just 44 years old, Brooks has two decades of coaching experience. Before his time at Baylor he also had stops at Kansas State (2012-16), Sam Houston State (2010-12), Bradley (2007-10), Midland (2006-07), and Arkansas-Fort Smith (2004-06).


Brooks spoke with Kentucky Insider earlier this month about Kentucky’s hire of Mark Pope, as someone who competed against him at BYU. He spoke highly of the hire, specifically of his Xs and Os, and saw “no negatives”.

Interestingly, he will not be the first Alvin Brooks to be a part of the Kentucky Basketball program as his father was the Director of Operations from 2007-09 under Billy Gillispie. Brooks joins an assembled staff of Cody Fueger, Jason Hart, and Mark Fox, leaving just one assistant spot remaining which likely won’t come soon.

That said, the concern with Pope was his recruiting ability. With Hart and now Brooks, he has addressed that concern and has added two of the best recruiters in the country.

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BB Recruiting

Transfer Amari Williams Commits to Kentucky



Drexel transfer Amari Williams has committed to play for the Kentucky Wildcats. Becomes first transfer commitment under Mark Pope.
Graphic via ClutchPoints

Amari Williams has made his decision. He has committed to the Wildcats, first reported by Joe Tipton of On3.

Williams’ decision comes after visiting Lexington this past weekend. On all accounts and given his commitment, all things went well, even taking a visit to Keeneland with new head coach Mark Pope.

Originally from Nottingham, England, Williams has played the last four years at Drexel. He has career averages of 10.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks.


From his sophomore season forward, Williams has been named to the All-Coastal Athletic Association Team three times and has won three straight CAA Defensive Player of the Year Awards.

The 6-foot-10, 265-pound forward is a physical big. On the offensive end, he scores most of his points at the rim, many of which come in transition or off offensive rebounds, but he is also comfortable extending to the elbow. He is a better passer than one would expect as well, with an 18% assist rate.

As his Defensive Player of the Year awards suggest, Williams makes his biggest impact on the defensive side of the ball. With a 7-foot-5 wingspan, he blocks plenty of shots (8.5% block rate) and alters many more. His physical size and length help him rebound the ball well.

Both were areas Kentucky lacked in last season.


If you’re an analytical guy, Williams has been a top-20 player in player efficiency ratings the previous two seasons, with a 28.5 PER each season.

For reference, Kentucky’s most efficient players last season, Reed Sheppard and Antonio Reeves, both had a PER of 23.6.

Evan Miya, one of the best analytics gurus in college hoops, has Williams ranked 14th overall in DBPR for next season, which measures the defensive value a player brings to his team when he is on the court. So Kentucky just landed one of the best defensive transfers in America.

With his commitment, Williams becomes Kentucky’s first transfer under Mark Pope and just the second commitment overall, joining Collin Chandler, a 4-star recruit of the 2022 class returning from a mission trip this summer.


It’s worth noting that he played alongside fellow Kentucky target and Utah State transfer Great Osobor in England. Could the two join forces in Lexington as Kentucky’s frontcourt?

Check out some highlights of the newest Cat in action!

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BB Recruiting

What Transfers Has Mark Pope Reached Out To?



New Kentucky head coach Mark Pope has already started to put in work on the recruiting trail and transfer portal in his first couple of days.
IMAGN/USA Today Pictures

New Kentucky head coach Mark Pope has been in Lexington for only a couple of days, but he has already started putting in work on the recruiting trail, especially in the transfer portal. Kentucky is expected to have a much older team this upcoming season, with only one remaining signee in their recruiting class, Travis Perry.

On his first radio show on Monday, Pope said he is searching for great players with “epic talent”, but also players that fit. “It’s not about going out and getting the most raw talent, it’s getting the pieces to form a team that can be dangerous.”

Just a few days into his tenure, here is a list of who Pope has contacted thus far.


Koby Brea – Guard, Dayton

Physicals: 6-6, 205 lbs
Stats: 11.1 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 51.6% FG, 49.8% 3P
Ranking: 67th (Evan Miya), Not yet listed (247Sports)

One of the best shooters in college basketball last season, Brea shot almost 50% from three. What is even more impressive is that he did so on high volume, averaging more than six three-pointers per game. Also in various ways, spot-ups, off screens, in transition. While his shooting is his clear strength, he was also efficient around the rim, shooting 65 percent.

An elite shooter like Brea would strive in Pope’s five-out offensive system.

Otega Oweh – Guard, Oklahoma

Physicals: 6-5, 215 lbs
Stats: 11.4 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 49.3% FG, 37.7% 3P
Ranking: 32nd (Evan Miya), 21st (247Sports)


A strong and athletic wing, Oweh is one of the best two-way players in the portal. He is at his best when attacking the basket, but has significantly improved his shooting. After making just 1 of 4 three attempts his freshman season, he was 20-53 (37.7%) in his sophomore campaign. On the defensive end, Oweh’s size and athleticism allow him to be effective on and off the ball.

With his ball handling and attacking ability, Oweh would have enough space to create for himself and others, and has enough shooting to keep defenses honest.

Jeremy Roach – Guard, Duke

Physicals: 6-2, 180 lbs
Stats: 14.0 PPG, 3.3 APG, 46.8% FG, 42.9% 3P
Ranking: 20th (Evan Miya), not yet listed (247Sports)

One of the best guards to enter the portal, Jeremy Roach has been a four-year starter for Duke and is looking for a change of scenery for his last season of eligibility. With a solid frame, Roach is considered a true point guard with a good feel for operating the offense.


While his playmaking has long been a strength, he has improved his scoring averages and three-pointing year after year, averaging 14.0 points on shooting 42.9 percent from deep this last season.

Kentucky is reported to be amongst the leaders for Roach, along with Arkansas (Calipari) and St. John’s (Pitino). Oh, the drama.

Cade Tyson – Guard, Belmont

Physicals: 6-7, 205 lbs
Stats: 16.2 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 49.3% FG, 46.5% 3P
Ranking: 74th (Evan Miya), 20th (247Sports)

Tyson was the Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year last season and Second Team All-Conference this season after averaging 16.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.6 assists. He did that on 46.5% shooting from three.


Tyson is one of the most sought-after players in the portal due to his efficient shooting. WHile Kentucky has thrown their hat into the ring under Calipari, and now Pope, this looks to be a race between Tennessee and North Carolina.

Great Osobor – Forward, Utah State

Physicals: 6-8, 250 lbs
Stats: 17.7 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 57.7% FG
Ranking: 41st (Evan Miya), 7th (247Sports)

Nearly averaging a double-double this past season for Utah State, earning him Mountain West Player of the Year and All-American honorable mention honors, Osobor is one of the most sought-after transfer bigs in the country.

Similar to Oscar Tshiebe, Osobor may not have the height, but he has a strong build and is a tenacious rebounder. Pope hopes his connections in Utah can bring him to Lexington.


Brendan Hausen – Guard, Villanova

Physicals: 6-4, 205 lbs
Stats: 6.2 PPG, 38.1% 3P
Ranking: 163rd (Evan Miya), 79th (247Sports)

Mark Pope is taskedd with filling out a full roster and he could add an excellent supporting piece in Hausen. Playing the past two seasons for Villanova, Hausen came of the bench scoring just 4.7 points, but on 39.5 percent shooting.

Jakobe Coles – Forward, TCU

Physicals: 6-8, 215 lbs
Stats: 10.0, 3.8 RPG, 1.3 APG, 49.0% FG, 42.2% 3P
Ranking: 46th (Evan Miya), 198th (247Sports)

Coles led his team in three-point percentage at 42.2%. Although it wasn’t a high volume of threes, the numbers are still there. He is a very physical big man. Averaged 20 minutes per game, with some solid contributions.


The big man has heard from Kentucky, SMU (who he recently visited), Auburn, Grand Canyon, and Mississippi State the most among the others who have reached out.

Aidan Mahaney – Guard, Saint Mary’s

Physicals: 6-3, 180 lbs
Stats: 13.9 PPG, 2.6 APG, 38.6% FG, 35.5% 3P
Ranking: 81st (Evan Miya), 14th (247Sports)

One of the best guards in the portal. As a lead guard dor Saint Mary’s, he displayed a good sense of playing under control, setting himself up and others. That said, his numbers were rather inefficient as the primary scoring option for the Gaels and shooting more than half of his shots from three.

Javon Small – Guard, Oklahoma State

Physicals: 6-3, 195 lbs
Stats: 15.1 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 4.1 APG, 44.1% FG, 37.4% 3P
Ranking: 133rd (Evan Miya), 8th (247Sports)


Small has proven himself as one of the best playmakers in college basketball, at the mid major level at East Carolina, and last season in the Big 12 for Oklahoma State, being in the top ten in both scoring and assists per game.

Small is looking for significant NIL money, and Kentucky may be willing to give him that.

Kris Parker – Guard, Alabama

Physicals: 6-9, 195 lbs
Stats: N/A
Ranking: Not yet listed

Parker was a four-star recruit going into Alabama last season, but redshirted. Looking back at his high school career, Parker averaged 24.8 points, 14.2 rebounds, 7.1 assists and 2.4 blocks per game during his senior year at Crossroad Academy.


Andrej Stojakovic – Forward, Stanford

Physicals: 6-7, 190 lbs
Stats: 7.8 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 0.9 APG, 40.9% FG, 32.7% 3P
Ranking: 165th (Evan Miya), 38th (247Sports)

Stojakovic is the son of former NBA All-Star, Peja Stojakovic. A familiar name for Kentucky fans from his high school recruitment. Stojakovic is a terrific shooter, and a top-25 recruit in the 2023 class.

He will be taking a visit to California this weekend.

David Coit – Guard, Northern Illinois

Physicals: 5-11, 175 lbs
Stats: 20.8 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 3.4 APG, 40.7% FG, 33.7% FG
Ranking: 369th (Evan Miya), 294th (247Sports)


Coit is one of top scorers in the nation from this past season. A very high-volume scorer and shooter, Coit earned some All-MAC honors in his time at NIU. He is an interesting option with new Kentucky head coach Mark Pope and his offensive philosophy.

A really good scorer, and has a long list of suitors.

Baba Miller – Forward, Florida State

Physicals: 6-11, 204 lbs
Stats: 7.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 44.9% FG, 29.3% 3P
Ranking: 113th (Evan Miya), 97th (247Sports)

Originally from Spain, Miller had a tough freshman campaign at Florida State but regained form as a sophomore. Miller was a long time guard until he hit a big growth spurt, going from 6-2 to 6-11, but retaining his guard skills. A big with perimeter skills in Pope’s “modern” five-out offense. That’s a good fit.


Aly Khalifa – Forward, BYU

Physicals: 6-11, 270 lbs
Stats: 5.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 4.0 APG, 38.6% FG, 31.5% 3P
Ranking: 12th (Evan Miya), 132nd (247Sports)

One of Mark Pope’s former players is in the transfer portal, and is considering Kentucky along with Louisville, as well as a return to BYU. Khalifa is seen as one of the best passing big men in college basketball.

Khalifa visited Louisville over the weekend. He could be taking a visit to Kentucky soon. It makes as the first Kentucky-Louisville recruiting battle of the Mark Pope era.

Amari Williams – Forward, Drexel

Physicals: 6-10, 265 lbs,
Stats: 12.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.9 APG, 51.7% FG, 33.3% 3P
Ranking: 102nd (Evan Miya), 58th (247Sports)


Williams takes pride in defense, as he is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year. He will be taking a visit to Kentucky from April 21-22. In addition to his defensive accolades, he was also named First-Team All-CAA last season.

The forward will also take visits to Indiana, Creighton, and St. John’s.

Jaxson Robinson – Guard, BYU

Physicals: 6-7, 190 lbs
Stats: 14.2 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 1.3 APG, 42.6% FG, 35.4% 3P
Ranking: Not yet in the portal

Robinson isn’t a confirmed target, but he has been rumored as someone to follow his former coach to Kentucky, seen as BYU’s best player last season. He hasn’t officially entered the portal, but the buzz has been growing. Made louder when he reposted Mark Pope’s introductory press conference.


Similar to Rob Dillingham and Reed Sheppard last season, Robinson was BYU’s best player off the bench, winning Sixth Man of the Year in the Big 12. Robinson does have a second-round draft grade, but Pope will likely try to sell him on NIL and the platform of playing at Kentucky. He would bring leadership and experience already playing Pope’s system at BYU.

Portal season is far from over, just getting into the thick of things with the offseason frenzy, even more so for Kentucky this year. Mark Pope will work to finalize a staff in the coming days and build a roster almost from scratch.

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