Zvonimir Ivisic leaving Kentucky, following John Calipari to Arkansas

Zvonimir Ivisic has committed to Arkansas despite meeting with new Kentucky head coach Mark Pope.
Jan 27, 2024; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Zvonimir Ivisic warms up prior
Jan 27, 2024; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Zvonimir Ivisic warms up prior / Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

There was some promise that skilled 7-foot-2 center Zvonimir Ivisic would return to Kentucky despite the coaching change, but those dreams were put to rest on Monday night.

Ivisic announced that he would be following John Calipari to Arkansas. Ivisic did end up meeting with new Kentucky head coach Mark Pope on Monday afternoon, but soon after made his decision public.

“Today I met with Coach Pope and had a great meeting with him. He’s an amazing guy and a great coach and he will do big things here," Ivisic wrote in his social media post. "After our conversation I informed him that I will not be returning to Kentucky. Big Blue Nation, my amazing teammates, I love you and this has been the best experience a kid from Croatia could ask for coming to the US. You took me as one of your own since the first moment and the love just grew! From the billboard to countless other things you’ve done to show love. I mean, come on. Who does that? I will forever be grateful for that and it will have a special place in my heart.

“With all that being said, I made the lifetime decision to come to college for a few reasons. Main one’s to win a national championship and go to the NBA. Monumental part of that decision was Coach Cal, and no one does both of those at the same time than him. That’s why I am excited to announce that I am committing to Coach Cal and the Arkansas Razorbacks."

Ivisic appeared in 15 games this year, averaging 5.5 points and 3.3 rebounds in 11.7 minutes per game. He shot 37.5 percent (6-of-16) from three.

On the season, Ivisic scored in double-figures four times, including a career-high 18 points on 7-of-11 from the field in a win over Alabama. 

Ivisic is the second Kentucky player to transfer out of the program and find a new home. Fellow freshman forward Aaron Bradshaw announced his commitment to Ohio State on Monday as well.

Kentucky has seen five players enter the portal -- DJ Wagner being the latest to announce his decision to leave the program. He joins Adou Thiero and Joey Hart as the other transfers still in the portal.

Guard Rob Dillingham and wing Justin Edwards have announced they will enter the NBA Draft and forgo their remaining eligibility.

So, that leaves a key decision for freshman guard Reed Sheppard. Sheppard is a projected lottery pick in every draft, as high as No. 2 overall in the latest ESPN mock draft. He has already spoken with Mark Pope shortly after Pope took the job.

Two of the six commits in the 2024 class remain committed to Kentucky. Those include five-star wing Billy Richmond and four-star guard Travis Perry.

“We are talking to all of the guys on the current team, all of those recruits and every player in the portal right now,” Pope said during his introductory press conference. “We are going to find the guys that fit here, the way we play, and the guys that will come here and understand what a gift it is to play here at the University of Kentucky.”