Players and recruits Pat Kelsey would poach from Kentucky after Calipari split

With the news of John Calipari leaving Kentucky for Arkansas, many Wildcats may jump ship and Pat Kelsey would benefit from it.
Jul 16, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; USA-Kentucky guard DJ Wagner (21) shoots for a basket.
Jul 16, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; USA-Kentucky guard DJ Wagner (21) shoots for a basket. / John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Congratulations Louisville fans, John Calipari is officially leaving the state of Kentucky. In the late hours of the night, Calipari struck a deal with Arkansas to become their next men's basketball coach, changing the face of SEC basketball.

Louisville men's basketball can benefit from this coaching change as players from Kentucky might be looking to jump ship. This is the perfect opportunity for new head coach Pat Kelsey to get some high-quality transfers to help him out in his first season at a Power 5 school.

Not only can Kelsey get players from Kentucky, but he could also try to get commitments that haven't been signed yet to Kentucky. Here is a look at which players and recruits Kelsey could Poach now that Calipari is heading to Arkansas.


Karter Knox

So recruits that got offers from Louisville obviously didn't get offers from Kelsey, but with a new coach, things can get enticing. Karter Knox is a 5-star recruit according to 247Sports who is a hard commit to Kentucky but has not signed a Letter of Intent.

Knox did get an offer from Louisville and even made an official visit back in October 2023. While his offer and visit were with Kenny Payne, there clearly was still interest in the program, enough to visit. If Knox were to open back up his recruitment, Louisville could still be in the running to land Knox.

The small forward out of Atlanta, Georgia would be a great addition for the Cardinals. He is ranked 19th nationally, the 6th-ranked small forward in the country and the second-best recruit in the state of Georgia.

Billy Richmond

Billy Richmond is another recruit that committed to Kentucky but he also hasn't signed his Letter of Intent either. Richmond is ranked 24th nationally by 247Sports, is the 8th-ranked small forward in the country, and is the second-best player in the state of New Jersey.

Louisville also made an offer to Richmond before he made his commitment to Kentucky. He also had a visit from Calipari so while he could easily follow the coach who recruited him to Arkansas, he may want to stay in the state of Kentucky and Louisville might be a perfect match.


DJ Wagner

DJ Wagner had a solid first year at Kentucky averaging a little over 25 minutes per game as a freshman. He averaged 9.9 points per game, 3.3 assists per game, and 1.9 rebounds per game while shooting 40.5% from the floor.

As a guard, Wagner would be a great fit for Louisville, especially with only three transfers coming in from the 2024 class and no recruits. Kelsey could land a big transfer here which could jump-start his recruitment at Louisville.

Aaron Bradshaw

Aaron Bradshaw did not have as big of a year as Wagner did in his first season. Bradshaw averaged a little over 13 minutes a game with 4.9 points per game and 3.3 rebounds per game. His field goal percentage was impressive though shooting 57.6% from the floor.

Coming in at 7-foot-1, Bradshaw would be a great addition to any program, but with his height and ability to rebound the basketball, Louisville could use him greatly. Bradshaw could pair well with Dennis Evans who is also 7-foot-1 as the Cardinals could have a powerful center in Evans and a strong mid-range shooter in Bradshaw, both with great height.

Pat Kelsey has had three transfers so far come in since he was announced as the coach at Louisville. Two of those transfers come from Charleston, Kelsey's previous program and the third came from James Madison. Landing some Power 5 top recruits and transfers could be huge for Kelsey in his first season.