Kentucky’s 2021-22 roster, including the coaching staff, is not yet complete, but ESPN’s Jeff Borzello still believes the Cats will be one of the top 20 teams in the country next season. Borzello updated his Way-Too-Early Top 25 this morning and Kentucky stayed at No. 19. Even though there are still some missing pieces, Borzello thinks the addition of Oscar Tshiebwe and Kellan Grady will help the program bounce back from a historically bad season.
Kentucky is used to big changes every spring and only three or four players are still locks to return to the roster next season. But this has felt different to past rebuilding and reloading efforts. John Calipari hit the portal early to land West Virginia transfer Oscar Tshiebwe and Davidson transfer Kellan Grady, both of whom should start immediately. But there’s also been changes on the coaching staff, with Tony Barbee leaving for the head job at Central Michigan and Joel Justus becoming Bobby Hurley’s top assistant at Arizona State. There has been some buzz surrounding Illinois assistants Orlando Antigua and Chin Coleman as possible replacements; what would that mean for Kentucky’s pursuit of Illinois transfer Adam Miller? Devin Askew’s departure means Calipari needs another point guard and he’s been recruiting nearly every available high-level guard. UK is also in the mix for Iowa transfer CJ Fredrick, the best shooter in the portal. Then there’s the players in limbo: Davion Mintz and Isaiah Jackson. Kentucky’s roster is still very much in flux.
Not only did Borzello not include Keion Brooks among the “players in limbo,” he has the rising junior in his projected starting lineup alongside Nolan Hickman, Kellan Grady, Dontaie Allen, and Oscar Tshiebwe. Hmm…
Elsewhere in the top 25, Gonzaga is No. 1, Villanova No. 2, and UCLA No. 3. From the SEC, Alabama is No. 7, Arkansas No. 9, and Tennessee No. 16 thanks to the additions of Justin Powell, Jonas Aidoo, and Brandon Huntley-Hatfield. Auburn and Mississippi State are among the five teams “next in line.” Check it all out below.