3 Wildcats that Kentucky basketball needs to bring back for the 2024-25 season

Kentucky basketball needs to get older. John Calipari knows this, and he can start by retaining some of the young talent he's brought to Lexington over the past few years, before attacking the transfer portal.
Kentucky guard Justin Edwards (1) and Kentucky forward Adou Thiero (3)
Kentucky guard Justin Edwards (1) and Kentucky forward Adou Thiero (3) / Caitie McMekin/News Sentinel / USA TODAY
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Ugonna Onyenso. . 7'0" 247 lbs. 528. Sophomore. 2. . Ugonna Onyenso, C. Ugonna Onyenso, C. player

Kentucky had a revolving door at center this season, but Calipari eventually landed on sophomore Ugonna Onyenso as the starter, ahead of Aaron Bradshaw and Zvonimir Ivisic. While Onyenso provided nearly nothing on the offensive end, just a 9.8% usage rate with 31.4% of his 3.6 points a game coming on second-chance attempts, he was the anchor that Kentucky needed on the other end of the floor. 

Calipari will always be able to recruit the offensive creators, but rarely does he have a big man who can lock down the paint the way Onyenso does. This season, the seven-footer averaged 2.8 blocks a game in under 20 minutes on the floor and posted a block percentage of 14.7% which is in the 100th percentile of college basketball. 

Onyenso is also the type of player who could ramp up his minutes from 18.6 per game because he doesn’t waste his five fouls, averaging 1.4 a game with a 100th percentile block/foul rate. Kentucky needs to solve the defensive end of the floor next season and the continuity of Onyenso returning to start at center would ease a lot of stress in that regard.