Former Kentucky basketball player Aaron Bradshaw transferring to a Big Ten school

Former five-star Kentucky men’s basketball recruit Aaron Bradshaw has a new college home after spending one season in Lexington.

On Monday afternoon, Bradshaw — who averaged 4.9 points and 3.3 rebounds per game last season at Kentucky — committed to play at Ohio State for Buckeyes head coach Jake Diebler.

Bradshaw committed to the Buckeyes via a post on his Instagram page.

A 7-foot-1 big man, Bradshaw never followed through on the lofty expectations that came with his arrival at UK as part of the Wildcats’ top-ranked 2023 recruiting class. But a lot of that had to do with factors out of his control.

Bradshaw missed the entire 2023 offseason and preseason following a foot injury that he suffered last spring, which delayed his on-court debut for the Wildcats until early December.

He made a splash in his second career college game with 17 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots in UK’s 81-66 win over Penn on Dec. 9.

That performance, along with a late-game 3-pointer that pushed Kentucky to a win in its SEC opener at Florida, proved to be the two standout moments from an otherwise quiet freshman season for Bradshaw under former UK coach John Calipari.

But despite a downturn in performance and playing time, Bradshaw was lauded for his positive personality in the UK locker room last season.

Bradshaw entered the NCAA transfer portal last week, following reports that Calipari was to leave the UK program. After 15 seasons as head coach, Calipari stepped down from his post at UK and is now the head coach at Arkansas.

“To the incredible Wildcats fans, my teammates, coaches and supporters, I want to take a moment to express my gratitude for the unwavering support you have shown me throughout my time at the University of Kentucky,” Bradshaw said in an Instagram post announcing that he was leaving Kentucky.

“Representing the blue and white has genuinely been an absolute honor, and I am grateful for every opportunity I’ve had to put on a Kentucky jersey. Thank you to Coach Calipari, and the whole Kentucky staff for the support and guidance I have received throughout every step of my process. Your belief in me has fueled my drive and determination, and I am committed to making you proud, both on and off the court. Thank you to my teammates for battling alongside me and inspiring me to be my best.”

Bradshaw had also put his name in the NBA draft, in addition to entering the transfer portal. He currently sits at No. 73 overall on ESPN’s latest list of the top 100 prospects for this year’s draft.

According to college basketball statistician Evan Miyakawa, Bradshaw ranked as the No. 33 overall player in the transfer portal, as of Monday afternoon.

Bradshaw lands at an Ohio State program that is also navigating a time of change. In February, the Buckeyes fired former head coach and Lexington native Chris Holtmann during his seventh season in Columbus.

Diebler, who was the associate head coach under Holtmann, finished the season as Ohio State’s interim coach and led the Buckeyes to a 6-2 record over the last month of the season. Ohio State advanced to the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Conference Tournament.

Diebler was named the full-time head coach at Ohio State on March 17.

Bradshaw — who found himself buried on the big man depth chart behind fellow 7-footers Zvonimir Ivisic and Ugonna Onyenso toward the end of his lone season at UK — is the first player from the 2023-24 UK roster to transfer to a new school.

The other members of last year’s Kentucky team currently in the NCAA transfer portal are Joey Hart, Zvonimir Ivisic, Adou Thiero and D.J. Wagner.

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

As such, new Kentucky coach Mark Pope, who was officially introduced to a packed Rupp Arena crowd Sunday, has a blank canvas to work with as far as his first Kentucky roster is concerned.

Pope was expected to meet Monday with both Ivisic and Wagner as they ponder their basketball futures.

Four of the six members of Kentucky’s 2024 recruiting class that Calipari put together, which ranked as the second-best recruiting class in the country, have decommitted from the Wildcats. This includes UK signee Boogie Fland, who requested out of his national letter of intent with UK on Monday morning.

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.

Aaron Bradshaw was a five-star recruit in the 2023 recruiting class and played one season at UK. Bradshaw committed to Ohio State out of the NCAA transfer portal on Monday. Silas Walker/
Aaron Bradshaw was a five-star recruit in the 2023 recruiting class and played one season at UK. Bradshaw committed to Ohio State out of the NCAA transfer portal on Monday. Silas Walker/

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