Kentucky basketball target Hunter Dickinson chooses Kansas

Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Kentucky basketball made Hunter Dickinson’s top-five list, but the Michigan transfer ultimately chose the Kansas Jayhawks.

Dickinson is widely regarded as the best transfer this offseason and included Kentucky basketball in his final list of potential schools. However, on Thursday morning, Dickinson announced his decision to commit to playing for Bill Self and Kansas.

Of course, this leaves a lot of Wildcats fans frustrated. Losing out on the best of anything always hurts, especially when it’s a player as capable as Dickinson. He’s the type of player who could fit in on any team he plays for and make them better, because of how talented he is.

It’s also a gut punch when Kansas, a fellow blue-blood school, beats Kentucky out for a player. The Jayhawks have seemed to have had the upper hand for the past decade.

Losing out on Hunter Dickinson isn’t the end of the world

While it’s a disappointment, Kentucky basketball can and will survive. And it starts with Oscar Tshiebwe.

When it gets down to it, Tshiebwe is still the best fit for the Wildcats, because he’s already played here for two seasons. He has a few things Dickinson doesn’t, and that’s a Wooden Award, a Naismith Award, and a two-time Consensus All-American.

Of course, nothing is set in stone. Tshiebwe could decide to leave Lexington and pursue his dream of playing in the NBA. But the option to come home will always be there for the Kentucky center.

What’s next for Kentucky basketball?

The Wildcats will have to wait a few weeks to hear Tshiebwe’s decision. The NBA Draft Combine is May 16-18 and players have until May 31 to decide whether or not they want to return to college.

Kentucky must also be active for the remainder of the transfer portal. CJ Frederick, Daimion Collins, Lance Ware, and Sahvir Wheeler have all entered the portal. Tshiebwe, Chris Livingston, and Antonio Reeves have decisions to make about staying or leaving. Carson Wallace is gone.

As it stands, Ugonna Onyenso and Adou Thiero are the only rotation players set to come back as of May 4.

There are still a lot of talented players left in the transfer portal, but John Calipari is going to need a few of them to commit to playing for Kentucky basketball.