What Now For Kentucky Basketball?

Changes could be on the way for the Kentucky basketball program. Actually, one big change already happened when the Wildcats lost in the first round of the SEC Tournament, falling 74-73 to Mississippi State on Thursday.

Kentucky finished the season with a record of 9-17. That means it won't be headed to the NCAA Tournament. And neither will Duke. That's the first time that neither Kentucky nor Duke will be in the Big Dance since 1976.

How's that for tradition? For Kentucky, it may mean changes are on the way.

"While some stay-or-go announcements will likely be finalized in the coming days, it will probably take months for Kentucky’s 2021-22 roster to be fully settled," reported Ben Roberts of the Lexington-Herald Leader. "With the NBA’s season scheduled to last into late July and no firm 2021 draft calendar set, along with an anticipated overhaul to the NCAA’s transfer policy — allowing college players to jump schools this offseason without the penalty of sitting out a year — at least a few of these Cats’ decisions will probably linger into the late spring, or even summer."

Obviously, it all starts with Wildcats coach John Calipari. He will return. But to quote agent Jerry Maguire, the real question for Calipari will be: "Who's coming with me?"

Roberts explored the possibilities of who may return and who may move on. He first cited Olivier Sarr, a graduate transfer, and potential NBA lottery pick Isaiah Jackson as those who are expected to leave. So is former top-10 recruit Terrence Clarke.

Meanwhile, Calipari recently indicated top-five recruit Brandon Boston could return for another run. But Boston is likely to make himself eligible for the draft and gauge where he might be selected before making a final decision.

Everyone else stands a good chance to return, with perhaps the exception of Cam'Ron Fletcher, who was thrown off the team, welcomed back, then barely played.

All we really know is this was quite a disappointing season for a program that is historically in the top 10 of every poll every year. And we will have to wait another year to find out if this season was an aberration, or if everyone else just might be catching up.