The 5 veterans from the NCAA Tournament who could transfer to save John Calipari’s job at Kentucky

College basketball has suddenly gotten much older and John Calipari needs to get with the times. These are five veterans that Kentucky could add this offseason to solve that problem and save Coach Cal's job.
Dayton Flyers forward Daron Holmes II (15)
Dayton Flyers forward Daron Holmes II (15) / Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
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There’s a systemic issue with the Kentucky basketball program and ironically it's exactly what won the program its most recent national championship. The one-and-done era gave rise to John Calipari, but with NIL keeping players in college basketball longer and longer it’s tough to win in March with 19-year-olds against 23 and 24-year-olds. 

Calipari even acknowledged that harsh reality after his team’s Round of 64 loss to Oakland, despite having two potential NBA lottery picks on his roster, and plenty more talented freshmen. Kentucky had the No. 1 freshman class this season and has the No. 2 class in the country on the way to Lexington, but Coach Cal needs to learn from this NCAA Tournament and, if he keeps his job, needs to attack the transfer portal to get older. 

The best way to build a team that can win in March Madness, especially when you’re a program like Kentucky, capable of poaching much of the country’s top talent, is to pick off the guys who just won in March Madness. So, as these teams just had their season come to an end, and with the transfer portal open, here are five veterans that Calipari should try to target and entice into the portal this offseason. For better or worse, if Calipari brings one of these players to Lexington, they might just save his job.

. player. 2316. Eligibility Remaining: 1. DaRon Holmes II. DaRon Holmes II. . DaRon Holmes II. Junior. 5

The first two days of this year’s NCAA Tournament weren’t actually all that “mad.” We’re left with a very chalky Sweet 16 as a result, but one of the first wild moments was Dayton’s furious comeback against Nevada. The Flyers erased a 17-point second-half deficit to advance to the Round of 32. 

Now, Dayton’s season is over after a second-round loss to Arizona, and the Flyers’ best player would be a hot commodity if he were to jump into the transfer portal. This year, DaRon Holmes II became the fifth player to win Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season, after averaging 20.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.1 blocks. 

Holmes is a do-it-all power forward, capable of stretching out to the three-point line or dominating in the post, and he would give Kentucky some much-needed toughness on both ends of the floor. 

Calipari is always going to be able to develop some young guards, but in the past few seasons, he’s struggled to build the right frontcourt. The 6-foot-10 Holmes would be a big upgrade over Tre Mitchell at the four and could play either next to a true big like Ugonna Onyenso, or a stretch four if Justin Edwards returns for his sophomore season. 

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