Cam’Ron Fletcher found himself in coach John Calipari’s doghouse in late December after an outburst from a lack of playing time, and after failing to get out of it has now entered the transfer portal.
The freshman from St. Louis averaged just 1.7 points and 1.7 rebounds in nine games this season. Fletcher was asked by Calipari to step away from the team on December 19, 2020, and head home for some soul searching. He returned to the team on December 28 with supposedly a newfound attitude but remained on the bench with no guarantee from Calipari he would see any action.
He checked into just two games after that, playing one minute in a 75-70 loss at Missouri on February 3. He failed to see action until last Saturday’s regular-season finale when he played six minutes and scored his first basket since the Richmond game on November 29. He also managed to grab a pair of rebounds in the Wildcats’ 92-64 win over South Carolina.
Cam’Ron Fletcher never lived up to his hype instead and his outburst hurt him
For his UK career, he will finish with 15 points, making 7 of 13 field-goal attempts including 0-2 from 3-point range, missed his two free throw attempts, had five steals, three assists, and hauled down 15 total rebounds.
Fletcher came in a highly touted four-star recruit and was ranked No. 68 overall in the 2020 Rivals 247 class, and ultimately chose Kentucky over Michigan State, Missouri, North Carolina, and SEC foe and Alabama.
In high school, he averaged 20.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game to lead Vashon High School to the Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 4 state semifinals before postseason play was canceled. He was also on two state championship Wolverine teams.
As his stock rose maybe it got to his head along with the pressure of playing for Calipari where it’s made quite clear that each and every player is talented but must earn their playing time while possessing a team-oriented mentality. Those who choose to buy in succeed and those who don’t find their time in Lexington very short along with playing time.
While the entire team suffered through a tough season the Wildcats stuck together and while we don’t know how much a part of the team he was it’s safe to say Fletcher just didn’t fit in. Calipari has a short leash and a big dog house to exit from when you are banished to it.
His woes started back in the Wildcat’s seventh game of the year where they were mired in the midst of what would be a six-game losing streak.
During Kentucky’s, 75-63 loss to North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classic, Fletcher didn’t get summoned off the bench until 2:38 remained and out of necessity since Olivier Sarr, Isaiah Jackson, and Lance Ware had fouled out.
That led to an emotional crying outburst that was seen all over national television much to the chagrin of Calipari and the team. Fletcher then walked off the court and to the locker room while the game was still in progress. When Terrence Clarke fouled out be was searching for Fletcher on the bench but was seen and heard saying “Cam left?”
Fletcher returned to the bench but drew the ire of Calipari who sent him home to St. Louis after having a chat with mom Tamika whom Cam’Ron considers his greatest influence.
Calipari spoke after that game in his press conference addressing the issue.
“Again, you’ve got to accept your position on this team. Whatever minutes you get, and Cam (Fletcher) was made he didn’t play more. I’m like, ‘Guys in front of you are playing.’ Lance (Ware) played out of his mind. I thought Devin (Askew) played better. Cam came in and apologized after. They don’t understand that with four minutes to go in the game we had a chance to win the game and you cop an attitude. It’s the immaturity of that.”
That prompted him to head home for an early Christmas break to which Calipari made clear his expectations.
He returned in time for the SEC regular season to begin but was a long way from finding any playing time.
Perhaps this will be a learning experience for him and a lesson in maturity and what it takes to be a team player. With so many people hitting the transfer portal it is likely Fletcher will land on his feet but who is ready to take him in.
This is expected to be just the first of some roster changes at Kentucky as the season has drawn to a close with some players opting for the NBA, some the transfer portal, and some to head back for another season in hopes of putting this one behind them.