Coach John Calipari, speaking to local reporters Friday, confirmed that Kentucky freshman Aaron Bradshaw, a five-star prospect ranked fourth in the overall recruit and first place in the class of 2023, has indeed undergone surgery to repair a foot injury. Here’s what you need to know:
- Multiple team sources say the athlete that the McDonald’s All-American 7-footer opted for surgery just days later the athleteReporter Shams Charania reported on June 16 that Bradshaw had fractured his foot.
- On Friday, Calipari said, “He had a choice to make: Do you let her heal or do an operation? He waited a minute to say, ‘Let me see this,’ but at the end of the day, he said, ‘I want an operation because I want to play.'”
- Bradshaw will be back on the Kentucky campus this weekend, his coach said, and will be in protective walking shoes. Calipari added that the center will not travel with the team to Toronto for a series of exhibition games in mid-July.
- When asked if Bradshaw could miss the start of the 2023-24 season in November, Calipari gave Kentucky some good news: “Not what the doctors tell me, but we’re not going to rush him again.”
What does this news mean for wild cats?
Although it means the UK will be playing in Canada with only two available senior men, sophomore Oguna Onenso and West Virginia’s top transfers Trey Mitchell, this is likely the most positive update for Bradshaw since the injury rumor first started to circulate. several weeks ago. There was previously a buzz that Bradshaw’s agency, Klutch Sports Group, might encourage him to move to Southern California to play with Bronny James – and then vague details about a (yet) unconfirmed mysterious injury just days after he arrived on campus in the UK. This led to significant concern as to whether Bradshaw would actually be a good fit for Kentucky.
In what seemed very much like a direct response to that chatter, Calipari mentioned (non-stop) several times on Friday that Bradshaw is excited to play for the Wildcats. “He could have waited it out, but he said, ‘I don’t want to take a chance.’” Calipari said. “It’s unfortunate for him (to miss the summer fairs) but we had guys who couldn’t be in the summer and they came back and did great. All I can say is that every time he grabs me, he says, “I love you, Coach.” This kid is so excited to be here and wants to help us win.”
Is there more slate news coming up for Kentucky?
Calipari said Monday he doesn’t expect to add any more players for next season – he has seven freshmen, two sophomores and returning seniors Antonio Reeves and Mitchell, as well as the UK’s only transfer portal – with a big caveat. “But, what if this happens and that happens? Maybe we are,” said Calipari.
Moments ago, he had predicted that more than 10 new players would still enter the transfer portal in August after graduating from their current school, because there were no time restrictions on alumni transfers making a move. “So the team thinks they have guys, but you won’t have this guy. They can do it on August 28 and move in because they graduated,” Calipari said. It might be a thing with NIL, but it might not be. It’s all different than we’ve dealt with before.” In other words: stay tuned.
As always, Calipari projected quite confidently despite a list of just seven players (and no top-flight players) three weeks earlier. Reeves considered graduating and transferring but returned and left Mitchell and West Virginia after Bob Huggins got a DUI and quit. Still, Calipari said on Monday: “We’ve always been in a strong position. I never panicked about anything. Where we are, I’m happy with that.”
(Photo: Mark J. Rebellas/USA Today)
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