Busting Brackets

8 Kentucky players who could potentially follow John Calipari to Arkansas

Kentucky's coach John Calipari is all smiles.
Kentucky's coach John Calipari is all smiles. / Scott Utterback/Courier Journal / USA

John Calipari is set to become the 14th head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks and will soon be known as the former Kentucky Wildcats head coach.

Over 25 years with the Wildcats, Calipari became known for his incredible ability to recruit one-and-done players who immediately took their talents to the next level.

Calipari’s recruiting classes continuously ranked in the top five among other national teams and it led to a lot of success for Kentucky. This season, the Wildcats’ postseason run ended shockingly early when they lost to the Oakland Grizzlies.

Players like Rob Dillingham and Reed Sheppard are almost certainly heading to the NBA Draft after one year with the Wildcats, alongside seniors Tre Mitchell and Antonio Reeves who have reached the end of their collegiate eligibility.

In other words, four of Calipari’s stars won’t be a problem for opponents in the coming season.

However, as Calipari takes his talents to Fayetteville, which players could pack their bags and follow their head coach?

D.J. Wagner. 528. D.J. Wagner. . . Freshman guard. D.J. Wagner. G. player.

D.J. Wagner became a starter for the Wildcats in 2023 and his collegiate career skyrocketed despite being entirely surrounded by other star players.

Wagner averaged 9.9 points, 3.3 assists, and 1.9 rebounds per game for Kentucky.

He is from New Jersey so there's no hometown draw to leave Kentucky for Arkansas but if he wants to keep playing for the coach who recruited him and led his freshman season, Wagner is sure to become a Razorback.

Justin Edwards. player. 528. . . Justin Edwards. . Freshman guard. Justin Edwards. G

Justin Edwards was another freshman guard who became a consistent starter for the Wildcats during the 2023-24 season.

Edwards' stat line is just a smidge lower than Wagner's as he averaged 8.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 0.9 assists throughout the last season.

Edwards, also similar to Wagner, is from the Northeast but wouldn't surprise anyone by following his head coach to Fayetteville.

Zvonimir Ivisic. Freshman forward. Zvonimir Ivisic. . . 528. . Zvonimir Ivisic. F. player

Listed as a forward, Zvonimir Ivisic stands at 7-foot-2 and could be the next Zach Edey or Donavon Clingan-esque player.

Despite his massive frame, Ivisic averaged 57.7 percent from the field for 5.5 points per game while only averaging 11.7 minutes per appearance.

While Ivisic wasn't a starter for the Wildcats last season, he showed a lot of promise that Calipari could most certainly want to keep with him as he heads to Arkansas.

player. . Freshman forward. Aaron Bradshaw. Aaron Bradshaw. F. Aaron Bradshaw. . 528.

Aaron Bradshaw could be overshadowed by Ivisic if he follows Calpiari to Arkansas but it would be an understandable move if he wants to keep his head coach.

Bradshaw, just one inch and a few pounds smaller than Ivisic, plays a very similar game to his fellow Wildcat.

Throughout the 2023-24 season, Bradshaw averaged 4.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 0.3 assists per game while starting in 10 games for Kentucky.

G. 528. . . Adou Thiero. Adou. Sophomore guard. Adou Thiero. player.

Adou Thiero declared for the NBA Draft following Kentucky's loss to Oakland but he kept his options open, also entering the transfer portal if the draft doesn't lead to Thiero's name being called.

While the odds are not in Calipari's favor to convince Thiero to join the Razorbacks' program, he could be an incredible addition to Arkansas' roster.

Calipari's 2024 recruiting class

Three players who committed to Calipari and Kentucky's 2024 class could make a wave by deciding to take their talents to Arkansas.

Jayden Quaintance, Karter Knox, and Boogie Fland are top recruits coming out of high school and are large parts of why the Wildcat's incoming class is ranked No. 2 nationally.

If Quaintance, Knox, and Fland decommit from Kentucky and align their allegiances with Arkansas, the Razorbacks could become one of the best teams heading into the 2024-25 season.

Time will only tell which star players will follow Calipari to Arkansas so fans (of both the Wildcats and the Razorbacks) will have to wait and see who decides to stay or go.

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