John Calipari reaches out to two Virginia Tech basketball players in the transfer portal

Kentucky basketball is desperately trying to get more experience into the building this offseason and while Sean Pedulla and Tyler Nickel don't have much winning experience from Virginia Tech, they are two veterans who could improve Coach Cal's roster.
Virginia Tech Hokies guard Sean Pedulla (3)
Virginia Tech Hokies guard Sean Pedulla (3) / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

A pipeline might be emerging from Blacksburg Virginia to Lexington Kentucky. The five-and-a-half hour drive through West Virginia was made by former Virginia Tech women’s basketball coach Kenny Brooks to take over Kentucky’s program and a few of his players may follow. On the men’s side, Coach Cal has turned his attention to a couple of former Hokies as well. 

Virginia Tech men’s basketball head coach Mike Young has seen a mass exodus from the program this offseason, after a second-straight 19-15 campaign without an NCAA Tournament appearance. Seven Hokies have entered the transfer portal and reportedly, Kentucky has been in contact with two of them. 

Kentucky basketball in contact with Sean Pedulla and Tyler Nickel

Sean Pedulla was Virginia Tech’s offensive catalyst in 2023-24. The 6-foot-1 junior guard averaged 16.4 points and 4.6 assists with 1.2 steals on the defensive end. However, Pedulla shot just 42.4% from the field and 32.5% from three. He was a bit miscast as the primary scoring option on an ACC team, however, he would be perfectly suited as a veteran point guard and initiator in the SEC.

Kentucky would still need to find a replacement for Antonio Reeves as the team’s No. 1 option, but Pedulla would ease the creation burden for whoever returns to Lexington. Pedulla would certainly be an upgrade over DJ Wagner at point guard and a nice complement to Justin Edwards if Calipari can retain the former five-star wing and develop his offensive game.  

Even if Edwards puts off an NBA career, Kentucky still needs to add on the wing, especially with Adou Thiero in the transfer portal and exploring his NBA future. So, Coach Cal has also contacted Virginia Tech’s Tyler Nickel, a 6-foot-7 sophomore wing who shot 39.9% from three last season. 

Nickel is no stranger to the portal, after beginning his career at North Carolina, he will be looking to join his third different team in three years of college basketball. While that is a concern, the Cats need a player with his length and shooting ability, so it’s worth the risk on a player with plenty of frequent flyer milers in the portal who could be searching for a new home again next offseason.

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