Kentucky fans have been a little on edge with the uncertainty regarding next season’s roster. With the transfer portal and NBA decisions running rampant, week-by-week, we are beginning to gain a little clarity as to what the roster could look like heading into the 2023 season.
Ugonna Onyenso Returns to Kentucky
On April 5, it was reported that Kentucky center Ugonna Onyenso would enter the transfer portal and explore options outside of Lexington. The decision was met with controversy, but a week later, Onyeno pulled his name out of the portal and revealed on Twitter that he would be returning for his sophomore season at UK.
I’m back! pic.twitter.com/TQnlXlF584
— Ugonna Kingsley Onyenso (@OnyensoUgonna) April 12, 2023
As Kentucky fans were melting down about the lack of portal activity from the team, John Calipari was working behind the scenes to recruit Onyenso back to Kentucky. By all accounts from certain media members close to the situation, it seemed as if he never wanted to enter the portal in the first place, so returning wasn’t exactly a shock to the team.
The Onyenso-portal situation is just a symptom of the dark side of collegiate athletics in 2023. There are handlers and outside forces influencing these kids, sometimes against their wishes, so just because a player decides, just know that the decision isn’t always their own.
Ultimately, Ugonna Onyenso returning to Kentucky was what he wanted, and what the team needed. It truly is a win-win for all parties involved.
Chris Livingston Declares for Draft
Freshman forward Chris Livingston has declared for the NBA Draft while maintaining his eligibility for a possible return. The talented freshman really came on late in the season and finished with season averages of 6.3 points and 4.2 rebounds while shooting just over 30% from behind the arc.
“It’s only up from here.”
Chris Livingston has declared for the 2023 NBA Draft but will maintain his collegiate eligibility. pic.twitter.com/zKmvvry4YM
— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) April 12, 2023
Livingston joins Antonio Reeves and Oscar Tshiebwe as players to declare for the NBA Draft while maintaining eligibility. We likely won’t hear much regarding their future decisions until after the NBA Draft Combine (May 15-21).
The deadline for early entry players to withdraw from the draft is midnight on May 31.
Kentucky Likely Not Interested in Five-Star Freshman
Mackenzie Mgbako is a five-star recruit that was initially signed to attend Duke. However, he has revealed on Twitter that he has requested a release from his Letter of Intent, and his recruitment is reopened.
— Mackenzie Mgbako (@MackenzieMgbako) April 11, 2023
According to Jack Pilgrim of KSR, Kentucky isn’t expected to show interest in the five-star freshman, despite some thinking they would. He has also stated that Coach Calipari is expected to take on an experienced player through the transfer portal to compliment the number one recruiting class in the nation, rather than another freshman.
Kentucky is not expected to be involved for Duke signee Mackenzie Mgbako, sources tell KSR.
John Calipari exploring veteran options to complement five-man recruiting class in 2023
Expect Louisville to make a push with North Carolina looming, as well.
— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) April 11, 2023
Mgbako is expected to have an abundance of suitors as he is one of the most talented incoming freshmen in the country, Kentucky just won’t be one of them.