Kentucky forward Oscar Cheppui will forgo his final season of college eligibility and remain in the 2023 NBA Draft, it was announced Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know:
- Chipui was the 2022 National College Basketball Player of the Year. He averaged 16.5 points and 13.7 rebounds for the past season.
- He impressed in the NCAA Tournament with a 25-rebound performance in the first round against Providence and a game-high 25-point, 18-rebound game in the Wildcats’ second-round loss to Kansas State.
- The 23-year-old is not among Sam Vecenie’s top 100 players in the upcoming draft.
- Chris Livingston will join Tshiebwe in remaining recruiting, his agent Tell the athleteThe Sharanian SunWhile Antonio Reeves withdrew from the draft, he did not commit to returning to Kentucky.
Athletic Instant Analysis:
Where that leaves the Wildcats roster next season
Kentucky entered decision day with just seven players committed to next season’s roster: five starters and two sophomores who played sparingly last season. John Calipari was desperate for some good news from at least one veteran who could come back and bring some experience and stability. While the upcoming class is ranked No. 1 nationally—all Top 40 teams in the high school class of 2023, four of them McDonald’s All-Americans—college basketball is an old man’s game right now. Not a single true Freshman was in the Final Four this year, while 16 of the 20 starters were juniors or seniors.
Six players from last season’s squad were already gone before Wednesday: transfers Safar Wheeler (Washington), Damion Collins (LSU), CJ Frederick (Cincinnati) and Lance Weir (Villanova), plus NBA draft entries Casson Wallace, a pick. a potential lottery, and Jacob Tobin, who doesn’t expect to be chosen.
The three players who made their stay-or-go decisions until Wednesday’s deadline, Chipui, Livingston and Reeves, are all expected to either be second-round picks or go undrafted, which makes it especially disappointing in the zero-era era. A program like KFC apparently couldn’t make a convincing case for any of them to come back.
The only two Calipari scholarship returning players, the 6-foot-7 winger and 6-foot-11 Ogona Onenso, scored a total of 97 points last season. Tierro averaged 9.5 minutes in 20 games, and Onneso 6.9 minutes in 16 games. To say that the current Kentucky slate is green would be an understatement. And that inexperience will soon be on full display, as the Wildcats are just six weeks away from facing the older teams at the GLOBL JAM U23 Championships in Toronto, Canada. – Tucker
Calipari can still achieve something
So where does Calipari turn now to add depth and experience to his roster? UK has been rocking two of the biggest transfer gate swings — former Michigan State’s Hunter Dickinson has picked Kansas and NCAA runner-up Keshad Johnson has picked San Diego State’s Arizona State — and doesn’t seem to be in a strong position with anyone else. However, the only silver lining is that some quality players will now be available after dropping out of the NBA Draft. Arthur Kaluma is among those players who have dropped out of the draft and Kentucky is one of the schools that has shown interest in the former Creighton forward, according to multiple reports. – Tucker
(Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
“Devoted travel trailblazer. Freelance beer scholar. Passionate analyst. Hardcore twitter fanatic.”