John Calipari is a man on a mission to ensure the struggles of last season don’t happen again.
The Kentucky Wildcats have a new name to watch for in the transfer portal, but it comes from a familiar family.
Marcus Bagley, the younger brother of former Kentucky recruit and eventual Duke Blue Devil Marvin Bagley, has been contacted by the Wildcats, according to Aaron Torres. Kansas, Arkansas, USC, LSU and Oregon are among the other schools to reach out.
As mentioned, Bagley’s focus right now is on the NBA Draft, where is a projected first round pick. But if he does choose to return to college he will have no shortage of options.
Averaged 11 and 6 as a freshman in the Pac-12 last season
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) May 6, 2021
Bagley, who is also testing the NBA Draft process, would likely hear his name called if he remains in the 2021 draft. However, his stock is a bit volatile at this time, as ESPN projects him to be drafted 27th overall, which puts him just inside first-round range. NBADraft.net has him projected 44th overall.
The 6-8 combo forward averaged 10.8 points 38.7% shooting as a true freshman with Arizona State this past season. However, 6.0 of his 8.8 field goals attempted per game were from three-point range, where he hit a respectable 34.7% while chipping in 6.2 boards and 1.2 assists per game. He also shot 71.9% from the charity stripe.
My guess is, like Syracuse transfer Quincy Guerrier, Bagley is someone Kentucky will keep tabs on while awaiting a decision from Keion Brooks Jr. If Brooks stays, Kentucky probably won’t pursue Bagley, but it’s smart to keep several options open in the event Brooks does go pro or transfers.
While forward is clearly not an immediate need for the Wildcats, point guard is, so much that there are likely guys who’ve not entered the portal are taking a hard look at John Calipari’s program.
Might Georgia Tech point guard Jose Alvarado be one of them?
Alvarado, who would be a fifth-year senior in 2021-22 if he elects to use the NCAA’s free year of eligibility due to COVID-19, is currently testing the NBA Draft waters. The Brooklyn (NY) native averaged 15.2 points (50.4% shooting), 4.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game last season while leading Georgia Tech to an ACC Tournament title. If he enters the portal, he’ll be in the conversation for the best backcourt player to change teams this offseason.
Last week, Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader mentioned Alvarado as a possible option for Kentucky’s desperate need for a floor general.
Another proven college point guard — Georgia Tech’s Jose Alvarado — is also exploring his NBA Draft potential and could return to college for a fifth year. If that happens, the Herald-Leader has been told that UK might be an option as a transfer destination, though Alvarado has not yet entered the transfer portal.
Now Travis Graf of Cats Illustrated (via Matt Jones of KSS), as well as Chris Fisher of Cats Pause, all have mentioned Alvarado as someone who could withdraw from the draft, enter the transfer portal, and be someone Kentucky takes a hard look at.
If Alvarado does wind up returning to school and entering the transfer portal, he’s definitely someone John Calipari needs to go after, even if Davion Mintz returns. Not having a true point guard all season was a big reason why the 2020-211 Cats struggled so much, and there’s no question Alvarado is the kind of guy who would help ensure those struggles don’t happen again.