A fifth, and likely final, member of UK basketball’s 2024 recruiting class has decommitted

A fifth, and likely final, decommitment has occurred in Kentucky basketball’s 2024 recruiting class.

On Tuesday, small forward Billy Richmond reopened his recruitment, according to On3.

The 6-foot-5 Richmond previously had given a verbal commitment to Kentucky. Richmond picked UK in late December from a final group of schools that also included Alabama, LSU and Memphis.

Richmond is ranked as a five-star prospect and the No. 24 overall recruit in the 2024 recruiting group by the 247Sports Composite.

With Richmond’s decommitment, Kentucky has now lost five players from what was a six-player 2024 recruiting class assembled by former head coach John Calipari, who is now at Arkansas.

Last week, centers Somto Cyril and Jayden Quaintance (both signees) and small forward Karter Knox (verbal commit) all decommitted from the Wildcats after Calipari stepped down from the post he held for 15 seasons.

This week, following the announcement and introduction of Mark Pope as Kentucky’s new head coach, both Richmond and guard Boogie Fland (signee) have reopened their college recruitments.

“The reason I picked Kentucky is (a) great coaching staff. Calipari always keeps it real with me,” Richmond told NBA insider Shams Charania when he committed to UK. “That’s a big reason.”

Richmond was set to be the latest link between Kentucky and Camden (New Jersey) High School. Richmond, who is originally from Memphis, played his final two high school basketball seasons at Camden. As a high school junior, Richmond played there with guard D.J. Wagner and center Aaron Bradshaw, two members of the 2023-24 UK team who have entered the NCAA transfer portal following Kentucky’s head coaching change.

Bradshaw announced a transfer to Ohio State on Monday.

“I talked to them a little bit. I asked them how their experience (has been) going to Kentucky right now,” Richmond said at the time of his commitment. “They let me know the little things and the big things. So, it played kind of a part.”

Richmond’s father, Billy Richmond Jr., played for Calipari at Memphis in the early 2000s after transferring to the Tigers’ program from Vanderbilt.

The only player who was part of Calipari’s 2024 UK recruiting class that hasn’t dropped the Cats from his plans is in-state guard Travis Perry, the all-time leading scorer in Kentucky high school boys basketball history.

Perry and his father and high school coach, Ryan, both attended Pope’s introduction as UK head coach on Sunday at Rupp Arena while wearing Kentucky gear. Afterward, they both spoke extensively to the Herald-Leader about Perry’s recruitment and college plans.

Of the five decommitments from Kentucky’s 2024 recruiting class, only Quaintance has had significant new recruiting activity reported. Quaintance — a 6-foot-9 center who isn’t eligible for the NBA draft until 2026 — will be taking an official visit to Louisville.

Pope, the former head coach at BYU and Utah Valley, landed his first recruit at Kentucky on Tuesday morning. Collin Chandler, a combo guard and former BYU signee, announced he would be following Pope to Lexington.

Chandler was a four-star prospect in the 2022 recruiting group and was BYU’s highest-ranked recruit in nearly a decade. He served a two-year mission trip following his commitment and will make his college basketball debut with the Wildcats next season.

Overall, Pope’s first roster at Kentucky for the 2024-25 season will look vastly different from the one Calipari had for the 2023-24 campaign.

Bradshaw (Ohio State) and Zvonimir Ivisic (Arkansas) are players from UK’s 2023-24 squad that will transfer to new schools. Additionally, Joey Hart, Adou Thiero and D.J. Wagner are also still in the NCAA transfer portal.

Also from last season’s squad, Rob Dillingham, Justin Edwards and Ugonna Onyenso have declared for the 2024 NBA draft. Tre Mitchell and Antonio Reeves have exhausted their college eligibility.

Pope has lined up a transfer portal visitor (former Drexel big man Amari Williams) for next week. UK is in the top three for former BYU center Aly Khalifa, who is in the transfer portal and is considering Kentucky, Louisville and a return to BYU.

College basketball players have until May 1 to enter the transfer portal. The early-entry deadline for the 2024 NBA draft is April 27, and players who enter the draft with remaining NCAA eligibility will have until May 29 to remove their names from consideration and return to school.

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