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Kentucky’s transfers played a special role in their successful regular season and will determine how far the team will go in the NCAA tournament.

With the Wildcats having five of their best seven players being transfers, they could claim their own all-transfer team.

First there is SEC Player of the Year, Oscar Tshiebwe.  Tshievwe started his college career at West Virginia where he was voted second team All-Big 12 after averaging 11.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game as a freshman.  Tshiebwe began his sophomore season at West Virginia, but left midway through the season for personal reasons.  He transferred to Kentucky where he sat out the second part of last year.  He was allowed to practice, but could not participate in games.

This year Tshiebwe has a team leading 17 points per game and 15.1 rebounds per game while being named First Team AP All-American.  Tshiebwe also leads the team in steals with 58 and Blocks with 53.  He is the favorite to win several if not all the National Player of the Year awards.  He is certainly the one player the Wildcats must have on the court during their tournament run.

Next there is Kellan Grady.  Grady is a transfer from Davidson University.  Grady played four seasons at Davidson where he averaged 17.1 points per game and scored over 2000 points while making the All-Atlantic first team in both his Sophomore and Senior seasons.  Grady benefitted from Covid with a fifth year of college eligibility.  During his one season at Kentucky, he has averaged 11.5 points per game and has a team leading 204 three-point shots attempted and a team leading 87 three-pointers made.  Grady will need to be more aggressive on offensive if the Wildcats are to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament.

Sahvir Wheeler didn’t get a lot of publicity coming into the season, but he has been a pleasant surprise in his ability to distribute the ball.  Wheeler transferred to Kentucky from the University of Georgia.  During his sophomore season at Georgia, he led the team in points, assists and steals; Wheeler set a single season assist record at Georgia while being voted All-SEC second team.  For Kentucky the 5-foot-9 junior guard has averaged 10 points per game and has a team leading 201 assists.

Davion Mintz came to Kentucky from Creighton.  He was a two-year starter for the Bluejays before being injured and redshirting his senior season.  Mintz came to Kentucky for the 2020-21 season and was one of the best players on a disappointing 9-16 Kentucky team.  After missing last year’s NCAA tournament, Mintz returned for a fifth year.  He has taken on the role of the sixth man for the Wildcats.  His best game this season was a 21-point performance against Vanderbilt.  He has averaged 8.5 points per game despite playing limited minutes.

Jacob Toppin spent his first college season at Rhode Island University where he appeared in all 30 games for the Rams, while starting three of those games.  Toppin came to Kentucky at the beginning of the 2020-21 season.  Originally, he was to set out one year for transferring, but the NCAA changed their transfer rule and he became eligible right away.  This year the 6-foot-9 junior has showed off his incredible athletic ability by making a 360-degree dunk during one game and skying to make an incredible block during the SEC tournament.  His length and agility has made him the Wildcats best on ball defender.  Toppin is averaging 6.1 points per game.

The new NCAA transfer rule of instant eligibility has played a major role in this year’s college basketball season.  Kentucky is one of the team’s that have benefitted most from this rule change.  If the Wildcats are to win a championship, it will be on the backs of these transfer players.


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