“What I love about CJ is his approach in all of this. In every conversation I have had with him, he has a great plan of how he wants to improve and where he needs to take his game to get better.”
After months of speculation, CJ Fredrick is finally a Wildcat.
On Wednesday, the Iowa transfer announced he had signed with the Kentucky men’s basketball team. Under a new NCAA transfer rule, which allows all student-athletes a one-time transfer with immediate eligibility, Fredrick will be immediately eligible for the Wildcats for the 2021-22 season.
“I am very excited for this new opportunity in my basketball career,” Fredrick said in a press release. “I really appreciate the confidence Coach Cal has in me. I am looking forward to going to work and developing as a player with Coach Cal, the staff and my future teammates. Thank you to Coach (Fran) McCaffery, the staff, my teammates and Iowa fans for three memorable years. I cannot wait to get back on the floor at Rupp Arena to help this team win and make Big Blue Nation proud.”
A 6-3 guard from Cincinnati (OH), Fredrick averaged 8.8 points per game in 52 appearances with Iowa. He hit a combined 83 triples on 178 attempts in his two collegiate seasons, a 46.6% mark, making him one of the best shooters in all of college basketball.
“CJ Fredrick is an established college player from a terrific program who has competed at the highest level and has made big shots and big plays,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said in a press release. “As we all know, CJ is a terrific shooter, but what stuck out to make on tape is he takes care of the ball – he has an excellent assist-to-turnover ratio – and he can hold his own defensively. He guarded the best guard on the other team in just about everything I have seen.
“What I love about CJ is his approach in all of this. In every conversation I have had with him, he has a great plan of how he wants to improve and where he needs to take his game to get better. He wants to be challenged, he wants to be coached and he embraces competition.”
After redshirting in 2018-19, Fredrick made 47 threes during the 2019-20 campaign while averaging 10.2 points and 2.8 assists per game. This past season, he tallied 7.5 points per game and made 36 triples but was limited in the second half of the season with a lower leg injury.
Fredrick’s three-point percentage of 46.1% in 2019-20 led the Big Ten and was the best three-point percentage by an Iowa freshman in school history. That mark went up to 47.4% this last season as a redshirt sophomore. He has 11 games with three or more threes.
Fredrick reached double-figure scoring 19 times in his Iowa career with four games of 20 or more points. He scored a career-best 23 points on a career-high-tying five triples at Minnesota on Christmas last year.
As a redshirt sophomore, Fredrick was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection. He made the Big Ten All-Freshman Team in 2019-20. Fredrick was also Iowa’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree in 2021.
In Fredrick’s redshirt freshman season, he was one of only three players nationally – and the only one from a major conference dating back to 1993 – with at least 65 assists, 32 or fewer turnovers, and a three-point percentage of at least 46%.
The former Covington Catholic High School (Covington, Kentucky) star was named the 2018 Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year and led his school to a Kentucky state championship and a 35-4 record. Fredrick averaged 23.1 points per game in his senior season and shot 48.4% from 3-point range. The march to the state title was done in Rupp Arena, where Fredrick averaged 27.8 points with two 32-point games while shooting 63.6% from the floor during the Sweet Sixteen run. He was named MVP of the Sweet Sixteen.
Fredrick becomes the third transfer Kentucky has added to its roster for next season. Oscar Tshiebwe, a sophomore forward this past season, joined the program in late January from West Virginia. Davidson guard Kellan Grady, a graduate transfer, joined the Cats in late March.
If Fredrick chooses to use the NCAA’s blanket waiver for an extra season due to COVID-19, he’ll essentially be a redshirt sophomore again next season with three seasons of eligibility left. But if not, he’ll be a redshirt junior with two seasons left.