Home » Kentucky basketball forward Aaron Bradshaw enters transfer portal after John Calipari news

Kentucky basketball forward Aaron Bradshaw enters transfer portal after John Calipari news

LEXINGTON — Aaron Bradshaw might be back for another college season. It just won’t be at Kentucky.

Bradshaw, a 7-foot-1, 226-pound freshman forward for the Wildcats this past season, announced Monday he would explore his NBA draft prospects while also entering the transfer portal. Bradshaw’s decision came amid the news of UK coach John Calipari‘s expected departure to take over Arkansas’ program. Bradshaw is the second Kentucky player to enter the portal this offseason, joining sophomore forward Adou Thiero.

“To the incredible Wildcats fans, my teammates, coaches and supporters, I want to take a moment to express my gratitude for the unwavering support you have shown me throughout my time at the University of Kentucky,” Bradshaw wrote Monday in a note posted to his personal Instagram page. “Representing the blue and white has genuinely been an absolute honor, and I am grateful for every opportunity I’ve had to put on a Kentucky jersey.

“Thank you to Coach Calipari, and the whole Kentucky staff for the support and guidance I have received throughout every step of my process. Your belief in me has fueled my drive and determination, and I am committed to making you proud, both on and off the court. Thank you to my teammates for battling alongside me and inspiring me to be my best.”

Bradshaw, one of the nation’s top prospects in the 2023 recruiting class (ranked No. 4 overall in the 247Sports Composite), committed to Calipari and Kentucky in October 2022.

He flashed that talent sporadically during his lone season in Lexington, however. And it came after many Kentucky fans and draft analysts questioned whether he’d ever suit up for the Wildcats.

After enrolling at UK last summer, a foot injury sidelined him for months, forcing him to sit out the team’s trip to Toronto for the GLOBL JAM tournament, as well as both preseason exhibitions and the first seven regular-season games in 2023-24. His college debut came Dec. 2, coming off the bench in a home loss to UNC Wilmington. Bradshaw had a breakout performance in his second appearance — a 17-point, 11-rebound, three-block effort against Penn in Philadelphia on Dec. 9.

After that, he had just six more outings of 10-plus points and didn’t have another game in which he posted a double-digit rebound total.

If recent mock drafts are correct, Bradshaw is taking a risk if he remains in this year’s draft. Recent mocks from five different outlets — USA TODAYESPNBleacher ReportThe Ringer and NBAdraft.net — didn’t project Bradshaw would be selected in the 58-pick draft, which is scheduled June 26-27 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Reach Kentucky men’s basketball and football reporter Ryan Black at rblack@gannett.com and follow him on X at @RyanABlack.