Connect with us

Men's Basketball

Important Decision Dates and Deadlines for Kentucky’s Basketball Roster

Published

on

© Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Another college basketball offseason is upon us, which means several Kentucky Wildcats have decisions to make in regard to their future. A few of those decisions have already been announced, including: Sahvir Wheeler (transfer), Jacob Toppin (NBA Draft), Cason Wallace (NBA Draft), Antonio Reeves (test NBA Draft waters), and Ugonna Onyenso (transfer).

With that being said, there are still more decisions to be made headlined by Oscar Tshiebwe, Chris Livingston, Daimion Collins, and CJ Fredrick. These decisions may take some time, so let’s take a look at the important dates and deadlines to remember coming to this off-season.

April

Now-April 13th: Evaluation Requests

Players can enter the draft while requesting an evaluation and wanting to get feedback on where they can get drafted. Then once they receive the feedback they would decide on whether or not to keep their name in the draft.

Advertisement

April 23rd: Early NBA Draft Entry Deadline

This is the early entry deadline for the NBA draft. Most Kentucky players would’ve already made their decision and announcement by this time on whether they will test the waters or have already decided to come back.

May

May 11th: Transfer Portal Deadline

By this date, players must have notified their schools of their decision to transfer as the portal officially closes for fall and winter sports. We would know which Kentucky players are going to try elsewhere in college basketball.

May 11th-14th: G-League Elite Camp

This is the time for the G-League elite camp which takes 40 players after the first 70 or so will get invited to the NBA combine. This will be a very good indicator for players who are testing the waters and getting their feedback.

May 14th-21st: NBA Draft Combine

This is when the NBA Draft combine will take place, giving some Kentucky players chances to play themselves into a higher stock. This would be a huge opportunity for players such as Chris Livingston, Oscar Tshiebwe, and Jacob Toppin if they decide to enter the draft process.

Advertisement

May 16th: NBA Draft Lottery

The NBA draft lottery takes place which only pertains to Cason Wallace with the chance to see what team could select him in the first 14 picks.

May 31st: NCAA Deadline to Maintain College Eligibility

Players must take their name out of the NBA draft by this date if they wish to return to school and retain the college eligibility they have remaining.

June

June 12th: NBA Draft Withdrawl Deadline

This is the NBA Early entry draft withdrawal deadline where a player must take their name out of the draft if they want to maintain the college eligibility they have remaining

June 22nd: NBA Draft

The NBA draft takes place, where Jacob Toppin and Cason Wallace will look to have their names called, with the latter likely being Kentucky’s next lottery pick. It is to be determined if anyone else will join them.

Advertisement

Men's Basketball

Lamont Butler Believes In Mark Pope And Will “Do Whatever It Takes To Put A Number Nine Up In Those Rafters”

Published

on

Lamont Butler transferred to Kentucky to prove that his more than just a defender.
Photo by Eddie Justice | UK Athletics

Lamont Butler has proven himself as one of the premier defenders in college basketball over the last four seasons at San Diego State, having earned MWC All-Defense honors in three straight seasons and winning the 2024 MWC Defensive Player of the Year Award.

With that level of defensive impact, Butler had no shortage of interest when he put his name in the transfer portal this Spring. In less than 48 hours after officially entering the portal, he had his decision, choosing Kentucky and becoming just the second commit of the Mark Pope era.

Butler’s parents, Lamont Butler Sr. and Carmicha Butler, recently spoke to KSR about how the family decided on Kentucky and what kind of player and young man the Wildcats are getting.

Advertisement

“I can start off simply by saying that it’s Kentucky,” Lamont Sr. said. “Most kids in America, if they ever got the opportunity to play for a program like that, any kid would jump at it. With Lamont being in the position in life that he put himself in, it was the perfect move for him.”

While the brand of Kentucky Basketball is a big selling point, and one that Pope is emphasizing more than Calipari did, it was not the only selling point. The other big part was how Butler was going to be used at Kentucky, and Pope and his staff hopped on a plane to Las Vegas where he was working out, to do just that.

“We were at the gym working out, when, all of a sudden, we see the men in black coming in,” Lamont Sr. said. “I’m like, wow. It was the whole kit and caboodle. They were serious about Lamont.”

Before meeting with Butler and his family, Pope was already very familiar with his game having competed against him for three seasons at San Diego State in the MWC, and that certainly showed.

Advertisement

“He practically broke Lamont’s game down,” Carmicha said. “He told him how he played, who he is, how he wanted to use him, his plans for him at Kentucky, and what he wanted to do with him. For me, it was amazing for Pope, who he never played for, to know that much detail about my son, on and off the court. That was a major plus, a major benefit.” 

Pope’s plan for Butler though is to show off his full game. While he is known as a defender, there is much more to his game, with his father highlighting his unselfishness and leadership.

“Lamont is the type of player who’s unselfish to a fault,” Lamont Sr. said. “I was telling someone, that Lamont scored 1,000 points but would’ve passed those 1,000 points up to make the right play. There are too many selfish players in the world. Everybody wants me, me, me, me, me. Lamont is about us, us, us. I told him that’s what’s going to take him far in life.” 

Those two characteristics are a big reason why Pope wants Butler on the ball, rather than off the ball which was the case most of the time he was at San Diego State.

Advertisement

“It doesn’t matter to Lamont, but Pope is going to have him on the ball. That’s what a lot of people don’t know,” Lamont Sr. said. “That’s what it’s going to be, to lead the team and make sure he’s playing faster than he’s ever played.”

The primary thing though, Kentucky fans are getting a player who is willing to do whatever it takes to put another banner in the rafters.

“They’re getting somebody who’s going to give it his all on the court, injured or not,” Lamont Sr. said. “He’s going to be out there and do whatever it takes to put a number nine up in those rafters. That’s what Lamont is coming to do.”

Also published on A Sea of Blue.

Advertisement

Continue Reading

Men's Basketball

Trent Noah Says He Looks up to His Friend Reed Sheppard, On and Off the Court

Published

on

Noah: UK Athletics, Sheppard: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

The level of high school basketball talent in Kentucky is the best it has been in several years. Last year, Kentucky fans got to witness the emergence of Reed Sheppard, and they are hopeful more of “Kentucky’s own” can help the Wildcats on the court under Mark Pope. Two such players are coming in next season, Mr. Kentucky Basketball Travis Perry of Lyon County, and Trent Noah of Harlan County.

The latter was recently interviewed by a fellow Kentucky native and former Wildcat, Cameron Mills, and the UK Sports Network. In that interview Noah not only talked about his excitement to join his home-state program and preparation for this coming season, but he also talked about looking up his friend and former teammate Reed Sheppard.

“He’s (Sheppard) such a great player. One of the best I have ever been around,” Noah told Mills. That just doesn’t stop off the court either. “He is a really good person. A really good friend. Someone I look up to.”

Advertisement

Noah is just one year younger than Sheppard, but both are from the 13th region and the two formed a friendship when they were teammates for two seasons in the Adidas 3SSB Circuit with Midwest Basketball Club. What does Noah look up to Sheppard most for?

“He’s such a great leader. He’s always leading by actions. He just knows how to play. He has that natural gift. He’s always in the right spot at the right time. He obviously shoots the cover off the ball.”

Noah notes that to take some of those attributes and apply them to his game wouldn’t do anything but help them.

Toward the end of the interview, Mills asked Noah a theoretical question: “In an NBA-style three-point contest, who’s winning, you or Reed?”

Advertisement

We know that Sheppard just shot the third-best three-point percentage in Kentucky basketball history, but he shot just over 30 percent in high school. Whereas Noah shot 43% (102-237) from 3-point range as a senior. With that, Noah is taking himself. “He can shoot it, but I don’t know if I can say he would beat me.”

It’s pretty cool to see the connection that Kentucky’s own have with the program and share with each other. Check out the full interview below!

Advertisement
Continue Reading

BB Recruiting

2025 Five Star, Potential Reclass Candidate Will Riley Begins Kentucky Visit

Published

on

2025 five star prospect and reclass candidate, Will Riley, takes his official visit to Kentucky June 4th-6th.
IMAGN/USA Today

Will Riley, one of the top rising seniors in the class of 2025, is set to begin a two-day official visit to Kentucky on Tuesday. This was first reported by Kentucky Insider last week.

The 6-foot-8 small forward out of Malvern, PA, is currently down to five schools: Kentucky, Arkansas, Arizona, Illinois, and Alabama, and is leaving the possibility of playing professionally in the NBL in Australia. Riley is coming off a visit to Illinois and will visit Alabama later this week.

Already considered a consensus Top 25 prospect in the country according to 247 Sports, ESPN, and Rival, Riley’s stock is only continuing to rise. His calling card is his scoring ability and he has put that on display this Spring.

Advertisement

Through the first four sessions of the Nike EYBL circuit, he is averaging 21.9 points per game, on fairly efficient numbers, shooting 49.6 % from the field,  31.7 % from three-point range, and 79 % from free throws. Riley also adds 4.7 rebounds per game and 2.5 assists per game in just under 30 minutes.

A possible reclass candidate, Riley is considering making the jump from the 2025 class to the 2024 class. That decision is yet to be determined, adding an element of suspense to his potential future in college basketball.

With one current scholarship remaining for the upcoming roster, Kentucky is open to Riley reclassing and joining this year’s roster, underlining the significance of his potential addition to the team.

However, Jaxson Robinson’s commitment makes it less likely that Kentucky would be the choice if he does reclass. If he decides to remain in the 2025 class, Kentucky would remain toward the top of his list.

Advertisement

Does Riley become the first top 25 recruit in the Mark Pope era?

Continue Reading

Trending