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What Transfers Has Mark Pope Reached Out To?

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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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Mark Pope Talks About His Recruiting Approach, “Those Who Belong at Kentucky Are the Very Best Players in All of College Basketball”

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The hiring of Mark Pope was met with mixed reactions from Kentucky fans, but he is well respected in the coaching community.
Clare Grant/Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

When Mark Pope was first hired at Kentucky, multiple coaches who have competed against Pope talked to Kentucky Insider about what to expect. By his peers, Mark Pope is seen as one of the best offensive minds in all of college basketball, but the question was, can he recruit?

In just over a month as Kentucky’s head coach, Pope has filled 11 of his 13 scholarship spots. Eight of those players have come via the transfer portal, which has become the quickest way to fill a roster with talent in such a short span. It also shows Pope’s understanding of the importance of the transfer portal.

That said, going forward it’s clear that Pope wants to maintain the Kentucky brand in recruiting and what it means to some of the best young talent in the country. This past weekend he and his staff were in Texas and Indianapolis watching more than a dozen five-star recruits from the 2025 and 2026 classes, including several top-five prospects. While doing so, he talked to Kyle Tucker of The Athletic about his recruiting approach.

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“We’re just out here recruiting the best players we can get, and the best players you can get at Kentucky are the best players,” Pope said. “I’m used to working with a relatively limited pool, and Kentucky has a relatively limited pool also. It’s just a little different kind of pool. The guys who belong at Kentucky are the very best players in all of college basketball, so those are the guys you’re chasing. And then from that group, we’re chasing guys that really fit us, the way we’re attacking the game and the way we’re playing.”

Of the players that Pope is pursuing and will pursue, they are tiered. “It’s a balance. We’re actually tiering kids,” he said. “The kids we think are one-and-done that we really want to try and grab; another tier of guys we think can come be in the rotation as freshmen; and then a tier of guys you say, ‘Man, I’m telling you, that kid is going to come add something to our program as a freshman, even if he’s not in the rotation, and then he’s going to win us the biggest games in college basketball as a junior or senior.’”

In summary, “We do our best to tier guys and then go hunting and be super deliberate about the guys in each of those pools that we recruit really hard.”

Pope has three assistants who will be helping him on the recruiting trail, two of which are seen as two of the best recruiters in all of college basketball, Alvin Brooks and Jason Hart.

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Brooks comes from Baylor, and his father was the Director of Basketball Operations at Kentucky under Billy Gillespie. Pope calls him: “One of the elite recruiters in all of college basketball, because he builds these super, super deep, meaningful relationships with guys.”

Brooks was responsible for recruiting the likes of Keyonte George, Ja’Kobe Walter, and VJ Edgecombe to Baylor, and is already eyeing two five-star Nike EYBL standouts from Texas to come to Kentucky, Hudson Greer and Shelton Anderson.

As for Hart, he is a former ten-year NBA veteran (player) who was most recently the head coach for the G League Ignite. Before that, he was the associate head coach at USC (2013-21) where he helped recruit some of the best talent in the country and put a half dozen players in the NBA.

“You’re not going to meet a better person in the world than Jason Hart,” Pope said. “He’s got an energy that’s contagious, and he’s really smart and he could spend all day every day in the gym because of how much he loves the game.”

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The third and last recruiting assistant is Cody Fueger, who has been with Pope at Utah Valley and BYU. He is someone that Pope trusts and has worked

“Cody has just been grinding, getting great talent to some of the hardest places in the world to recruit,” Pope said. “So now he’s coming at this from a much different angle: ‘This is easy compared to what I’ve been doing.’ Because it’s Kentucky. And we say that every day: It’s Kentucky.”

Kentucky Insider has talked to one of Pope’s teammates and a fellow coach, Scott Padgett, who is confident that Pope will prove himself as a capable recruiter given his positive attitude, charisma, and worth ethic.

All three have been apparent to Kentucky fans early, and with a talented staff around him, Pope is going to purse the best of the best. As recruiting begins to ramp up with the 2025 class, we will see who that first player is.

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Top Transfer Portal Prospect Chaz Lanier to Visit Kentucky on Monday

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One of the best scorers in the transfer portal, North Florida transfer Chaz Lanier will visit Kentucky.
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Pope has filled 11 of 13 scholarship spots on his first Kentucky roster. With just two spots remaining, he is targeting two of the top scorers in the portal, Jaxson Robinson, who played for him last season at BYU, and North Florida transfer Chaz Lanier.

The latter will arrive in Lexington on Sunday night for a visit, first reported by 247Sports, and will visit through Monday. Lanier will be coming off a weekend visit to BYU and is expected to schedule a visit to his home state school of Tennessee soon.

Just a few weeks ago, Lanier, a Nashville native and former Mr. Tennessee basketball finalist, was believed to be a Tennessee lock. After multiple conversations with the Kentucky staff, they are believed to be the leader. This visit is a big opportunity to lock up that recruitment.

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Lanier is a 6-4 four-guard from North Florida University, averaged 19.7 points per game with 4.8 assists, shooting an efficient 51% field goal percentage and 44% from 3-point range last season. This play earned him first-team all-conference honors in the A-SUN.

This would be a massive addition for Mark Pope and Kentucky, as Linear was viewed as one of the best scorers and shooters in all of college basketball last season. According to 247Sports, Lanier is the 11th-ranked transfer in the portal, while ESPN has him 42nd.

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Dayton Transfer, Elite Shooter Koby Brea Commits to Kentucky

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Dayton Flyers transfer guard Koby Brea commits to play for Mark Pope and the Kentucky Wildcats. One of the best shooters in the country.
Dayton Athletics

After getting several elite defensive pieces last week, the Kentucky Wildcats have added one the best shooters in the country to the roster, Dayton Transfer Koby Brea, he announced on social media.

Brea was originally believed to be down to Duke and UConn entering last weekend, but in the game of recruiting, things can change quickly.

Duke pulled out of the race and their visit was cancelled, putting Kentucky back in contention and taking the place of that visit. While the Huskies added another transfer guard Aidan Mahaney on Monday, just after Brea’s visit ended on Sunday, resulting in them pulling out of the race. When Brea arrived in Lexington on Monday night, the Wildcats were the clear leader and they locked it down.

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Brea is ranked as the 40th-best transfer on ESPN, the 100th-best transfer on 247Sports, and according to EvanMiya, which has more of an analytical look at things, Brea is the 79th-best transfer.

What kind of person and player is Kentucky getting in Brea? Let’s dive into his background and game.

Background

Coming out of Monsignor Scanlan High School in Bronx, New York, Brea was an unranked recruit. While he wasn’t a player exploding on the Grassroots scene, both of his parents come from the Dominican Republic, making him eligible to represent the Dominican National Team in the U-17 FIBA Centrobasket Championships. There he got to play against some of the best talent in the world. Ultimately, Brea committed to Dayton over a small list of other schools such as Massachusetts, Manhattan, Iona, and Robert Morris.

As a freshman, Brea played in 16 games for Dayton, but missed much of the preseason and all of the non-conference schedule due to an injury. He never really got comfortable and because of this received a redshirt.

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As a redshirt freshman, Brea had a breakout season earning A-10 Sixth Man of the Year and Most Improved Player awards, notably leading the team in three-pointers made, attempts, and percentage (42%).

After learning he had stress fractures in both tibias, Brea saw his play drop in the 2022-23 season. At that point, surgery had to be completed. “I had to learn how to walk again slowly,” Brea told the Dayton Daily News.

Fully healed in 2023-24, Brea had the best season of his college career. Playing the sixth-man role he became so comfortable in, Brea averaged career highs in points (11.1 ppg), rebounds (3.8 rpg), field goal percentage (51.2%), and three-point percentage (49.8%). In doing so, he won his second Sixth Man of the Year award and helped lead Dayton to a Top 25 ranking and their first NCAA Tournament win appearance since 2015.

Scouting Report

49.8 percent from three last season. That is the statistic that is going to jump off the page. The fifth-best three-point percentage in the country, Brea did so on 201 attempts, making him one of the most efficient shooters in the country. That number isn’t an outlier as he shot 42.3 percent in 2022-23, his only other season he did not miss time due to injuries.

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That shooting ability isn’t just limited to catch-and-shoot opportunities as he is excellent at shooting off movement, whether that is coming off screens or creating for himself. To have the shooting efficiency and versatility he does, in a 6-6 frame, is very rare.

No player comes without weakness though. Brea’s two biggest are his unproven ability to get to the rim and his defense.

Shooting as well as he does, Brea doesn’t look to go inside often, with only nine percent of his attempts coming at the rim. At 6-6, he has the size, but he lacks some athleticism and quickness to get by more athletic defenders. That also hurts him on the defensive end, ranking 135th in EvanMiya’s defensive rating, amongst all transfers. Interestingly, Kentucky transfer target Jaxon Robinson is just below him at 136th.

In Brea, Kentucky is getting a proven shooter with a good frame and four years of college experience.

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Take a look at the newest Wildcat below.

Also published on A Sea of Blue.

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