3 Kentucky basketball players who probably won’t be back next season

We now know that John Calipari will be Kentucky's head coach in 2024-25, but who will be on his roster, and who will be off to the NBA Draft this summer?

Kentucky Wildcats guards Rob Dillingham (0) and Reed Sheppard (15)
Kentucky Wildcats guards Rob Dillingham (0) and Reed Sheppard (15) / Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
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. Freshman. Reed Sheppard, PG. 528. Reed Sheppard. 6'3" 187 lbs. Reed Sheppard, PG. . 1. player

Speaking of Reed and Rob, it’s not just Dillingham who will be heading to the NBA. Yes, Big Blue Nation knows that Sheppard’s Kentucky roots run very deep, and I’m sure he would love to bring a national title to Lexington just like his Dad did, but after a stellar freshman year and in a down-year for the NBA draft, Sheppard’s stock will never be higher than if he leaves for the league right now. 

If it was still the days of the college basketball one-and-done ruling the top of the NBA draft, then he'd likely be the No. 1 overall pick because it’s hard to argue that any freshman in the country had a better year than Sheppard. He averaged 12.9 points, 4.5 assists, 4.1 rebounds, 2.5 steals, and shot 52.1% from three on 4.4 attempts. The biggest critique of his play was that he didn’t shoot it enough. That’s insane for a freshman to be that polished from the very start of his collegiate career, and Sheppard’s athleticism jumped off the screen every game. 

Right now, Big Blue Nation has this fantasy about a Sheppard return to save the program, and maybe even of a Sheppard/Mashburn Jr. backcourt of 2024-25, but even though I’ve hinted at the possibility myself, I’m here to say definitively, Reed Sheppard will not return to Lexington for his sophomore season.

Next. Three Wildcats Kentucky needs to bring back for 2024-25. Three Wildcats Kentucky needs to bring back for 2024-25. dark