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BB Recruiting

What Transfers Has Kentucky Reached Out To?

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The college basketball transfer portal is open and Kentucky has reached out to multiple targets, specifically guards.
IMAGN/USA Today

College basketball offseason his here for all but four teams, which means transfer portal season is here. While some teams reach out to everyone, others like Kentucky try to examine potential fit and feel for each player.

With a desire to get older and more physical, the Kentucky staff has reached out to more transfers than they have in the past at this time, especially in the backcourt which, as of now, is where the roster holes are.

Let’s see the transfers Kentucky has reached out to thus far.

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AJ Storr – Guard, Wisconsin

Physicals: 6-7, 205 lbs
Stats: 16.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 43.4% FG, 32% 3P
Ranking: 40th (Evan Miya), 2nd (247Sports)

Storr is one of the biggest names in the portal. An athletic, attacking guard who excels at getting to the rim. However is relatively inefficient with his usage and is an average rebounder for his size.

Kentucky did reach out, but Storr is hoping to get a good draft grade, and if he does return to college, has a big NIL ask. Illinois is the favorite if he returns to college.

BJ Freeman – Guard, Milwaukee

Physicals: 6-6, 200 lbs
Stats: 21.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 4.1 APG, 42.2% FG, 35.1% 3P
Ranking: 91st (Evan Miya), 44th (247Sports)

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Last week BJ Freeman sounded ready to commit to Kentucky, saying he is “willing to do whatever to win and put another banner up there at Kentucky“. As interested as he is, an offer has yet to be extended.

Freeman is a three-level scorer who made major improvements in rebounding in generating assists this past season. At 6-6, 200 lbs he has a good frame. With more talent around him, Freeman could raise his efficiency.

Sean Pedulla – Guard, Virginia Tech

Physicals: 6-1, 195 lbs
Stats: 16.4 PPG, 4.6 APG, 4.3 RPG, 42.4% FG, 32.5% 3P
Ranking: 4th (Evan Miya), 22nd (247Sports)

One of the best playmakers in the portal, Pedulla can create opportunities for himself and others. This would make him an instant-impact guy. A high-volume shooter and undersized, Pedulla could increase his efficiency playing alongside better talent in Lexington. Kentucky has extended an offer.

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Javian McCollum – Guard, Oklahoma

Physicals: 6-2, 160 lbs
Stats: 13.3 PPG, 3.4 APG, 40.4% FG, 31.4% 3P
Ranking: 118th (Evan Miya), 18th (247Sports)

McCollum is the latest name to enter this list, with Kentucky expressing interest on Friday. Starting his career at Sienna, McCollum transferred to Oklahoma last season and his game transferred well.

While his shooting percentages don’t look great, he was often forced to shoot difficult shots in the Oklahoma offense. Undersized, McCollum is another player who can create for himself or for his teammates.

Cliff Omoruyi – Center, Rutgers

Physicals: 6-11, 240 lbs
Stats: 10.4 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 51.2% FG
Ranking: 14th (Evan Miya), 5th (247Sports)

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Omoruyi was one of the first big names to enter the portal and as a four-year player and two-time Big Ten All-Defense selection, he has received a lot of interest. He is a traditional big who excels in rebounding and rim protection.

At this point, it seems there are about 4-5 schools still in the running, with Kentucky being one. Omoruyi has been told that he will have a key role and the minutes are available, should he choose Kentucky.

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, but Kentucky has thrown their hat in the ring. He enters the portal with two years of eligibility remaining.

Jalen Blackmon – Guard, Stetson

Physicals: 6-3, 180 lbs
Stats: 21.3 PPG, 1.9 APG, 42.8% 3P, 42.8% FG, 38% 3P
Ranking: 336th (Evan Miya), 50th (247Sports)

The son of former Kentucky star James Blackmon, Jalen is a standout guard for Stetson University, being named first-team all-conference the last two seasons.

He is participating in the draft process, but will almost certainly return to college. An off-ball scoring threat, Blackmon could be a replacement for Antonio Reeves, and the Kentucky connection is there.

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Jordan Ivy-Curry – Guard, UTSA

Physicals: 6-3, 175 lbs
Stats: 17.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 3.0 APG, 40.1% FG, 38.7% 3P
Ranking: 226th (Evan Miya), 194th (247Sports)

Jordan Ivy-Curry was a ball-dominant guard at UTSA, but as a transfer, it would be better for him to go somewhere where he can play as more of a two-guard/combo guard. He still has the handles and ability to create for himself, but is in the 98th percentile in catch-and-shoot situations.

Tyler Nickel – Guard, Virginia Tech

Physicals: 6-7, 220 lbs
Stats: 8.8 PPG, 39.9% 3P
Ranking: 105th (Evan Miya), 162nd (247Sports)

At 6-7, 220 Tyler Nickel is one of the bigger guards in the portal, and he shoots 40 percent from three at the Power Six level. Even at that, he can run the floor well in transition and make the right passing reads.

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Nickel can be a really good supporting type piece on a contender.

BB Recruiting

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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BB Recruiting

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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