Busting Brackets

Arkansas Basketball standouts start entering transfer portal, NBA Draft

The only thing that stays a certainty in sports is change. With the resignation of long-time Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari and his sudden takeover of the Arkansas Razorback men's program, the uncertainty of a new head coach and the massive transition a new staff brings has brought a complete upheaval of the Arkansas men's basketball roster. While Coach Cal might have been looking for a new opportunity in Fayetteville, he'll need to shake off the Kentucky Blue and don Arkansas Red and hit the recruiting trail - hard and fast.
University of Arkansas Introduces John Calipari
University of Arkansas Introduces John Calipari / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

As the old saying goes, "nothing lasts forever" and quite honestly, John Calipari probably outlasted his overall welcome in Lexington, Kentucky. Yes, Coach Cal approached legendary status during his days leading the UK men's basketball program and Calipari himself generates either a love or hate response in regards to how he coaches the game of basketball but one thing is certain: John Calipari is a coaching force to be reckoned with. As Calipari turns a new leaf on Arkansas basketball and his own coaching career, the ripple effects of his move from one SEC program to another almost overnight is already causing a massive upheaval of the Razorback basketball program.

To be fair to both Coach Calipari and to the Arkansas men's basketball players, both the movement of head coaches to new programs and the advent of the NCAA transfer portal has made it easier than ever for a player to simply find a new school and team almost on demand and coaches can move and literally bring many of their former players with them to their latest coaching gig (assuming their players do follow them to a new school.) The lastest trend in collegiate athletics is for head coaches to move and take their rosters with them ro new program while the current players leave in droves once they sense their playing days are numbered. Whether fans and pundits alike agree with this sentiment, its ripple effects are felt not only in college hoops but in football as well, and soon this trend will move on to college baseball and softball.

The current Arkansas men's basketball program is in a state of complete upheaval upon the arrival of John Calipari as the new head coach. With the hopes of having Coach Cal lead the Razorbacks to the promised land, a.k.a. another NCAA tournament bid, the hopes and dreams of basketball relevancy once again tied up to whether or not John Calipari can actually keep this program together. Let's be real here for a second: the University of Arkansas is a good SEC school but in terns of basketball, it does not have the mystique of the Kentucky Wildcats and Coach Cal will have to start from the ground up as Razorback cupboards look to be bare right now in terms of actual players left on the active roster. What has become of the Arkansas basketball men's team at this point?

Khalif Battle, Graduate Senior: Battle is one of the top offensive stars and the "Razorback until the end" is now entering the transfer portal. The New Jersey native may be looking for greener pastures in the Northeast, say a Seton Hall or even a UConn at the end of the transfer portal rainbow? Battle will be sorely missed.

Layden Blocker, Freshman: If we have to be honest with ourselves, Blocker was probably on a transfer portal list even before Calipari arrived in Fayetteville but now the young freshman is seeking his colllegiate days elsewhere.

Trevon Brazile, Redshirt Sophomore: Despite injuries the past two seasons, the hybrid forward has declared himself for the upcoming NBA draft and looks as though his collegiate playing days are now over.

Davonte Davis, Senior: While Davis was primarily looked upon as a potential NBA draft pick, his reduced playing role this past season and the fact that the Razorbacks didn't make the NCAA tournament helped influence his decision to try his luck in the transfer portal as well.

Baye Fall, Freshman: The McDonald's high school All-American never made a big impression with Arkansas this past season and has entered the transfer portal along with junior Trannon Mark who was one of the most consistent Razorbacks during the 2023-24 campaign. Arkansas is losing fifth-year senior Makhi Mitchell who's one of the best big men in the SEC to the NBA draft as well.

Next. Early roster needs for teams. Early roster needs for teams. dark

While the pain of losing players to the transfer portal or the NBA draft is an immediate source of consternation, remember one thing about John Calipari: he's one of the best recruiters in the college basketball business. If anyone can find talent quickly and get them to come to Arkansas, Coach Cal may be just what the doctor ordered to help revive the Razorback basketball fortunes. Then again, it may be deja vu all over again with the "one and done" scenario moving from Lexington to Fayetteville. Stay tuned, Razorback basketball fans.