Ten ex-Kentucky basketball players are still in college. How are they doing this season?

The combination of recent changes to NCAA transfer rules, an influx of young talent into the Kentucky basketball program, and the natural occurrence that sometimes things just don’t work out has led to something rather strange.

There are currently 10 ex-UK scholarship players still playing college basketball elsewhere. The former Wildcats on that list range from Jemarl Baker, who came to Lexington as part of the 2017 recruiting class, to four players that wore blue and white as recently as last season.

With the 2023-24 season now more than a month old, here’s how those ex-Cats were playing heading into this weekend’s games.

Dontaie Allen

Current school: Western Kentucky.

Team rating: No. 173 in KenPom.

Years at UK: 2019-22.

A former Kentucky Mr. Basketball from Pendleton County High School, Allen showed flashes of his ability — especially in spurts behind the 3-point line — as a redshirt freshman during UK’s doomed 2020-21 campaign before playing little the following season and transferring to Western Kentucky after that.

Allen started slow at WKU last season before playing well enough down the stretch to be selected as one of 10 preseason All-Conference USA honorees. He’s struggled again this season, however. The 6-foot-6 guard is averaging just 6.4 points and 2.9 rebounds in 18.0 minutes per game — all of those numbers down from last season. He has come off the bench in all nine appearances for new Hilltoppers head coach Steve Lutz, and Allen is shooting just 28.6% from the field and 30.8% from 3-point range. Allen has shot just 32.8% from deep in the three seasons since making 31 of 78 3-pointers (39.7%) as a UK freshman.

Devin Askew led California in scoring with 15.5 points per game last season.
Devin Askew led California in scoring with 15.5 points per game last season.

Devin Askew

Current school: California.

Team rating: No. 166 in KenPom.

Years at UK: 2020-21.

A scapegoat for the struggles of the 2020-21 squad, Askew transferred to Texas — where he played just 14.9 minutes per game — and is now in his second year with California, a team he led in scoring (15.5 points per game) last season.

Askew has missed Cal’s past five games with a foot injury. He was averaging 10.0 points (fifth on the team), 5.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists in three games before the injury, which is not expected to keep him sidelined much longer.

Jemarl Baker

Current school: New Mexico.

Team rating: No. 36 in KenPom.

Years at UK: 2017-19.

Baker — a member of that 2017 recruiting class alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kevin Knox, P.J. Washington and other long-gone Wildcats — is now playing for his fourth school after previous stops with Fresno State and Arizona.

The 6-5 guard — in his seventh year on a college campus — has started in seven of New Mexico’s nine games, averaging 6.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting a career-high 40.5% on 3-pointers. A noted long-range shooter coming out of high school, Baker has shot just 33.3% overall during his injury-plagued college career.

Keion Brooks Jr.

Current school: Washington.

Team rating: No. 58 in KenPom.

Years at UK: 2019-22.

Easily one of the highest-impact former Wildcats on this list, Brooks is having another terrific individual season at Washington, where he was averaging 20.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game heading into Saturday’s late-night matchup with Gonzaga.

Brooks, who averaged 17.7 points and 6.7 rebounds last season, scored a career-high 32 points in a victory over Northern Kentucky on Nov. 9. He entered the weekend as the Pac-12’s third-leading scorer and fourth-best rebounder.

Daimion Collins

Current school: LSU.

Team rating: No. 93 in KenPom.

Years at UK: 2021-23.

A former McDonald’s All-American with persistent NBA draft buzz attached to his name, Collins is in his junior season at LSU after two seasons of little production as a Wildcat. The super-athletic 6-9 forward drew preseason praise from Matt McMahon, the Tigers’ second-year head coach.

“I love Daimion Collins,” McMahon said at the SEC’s media day in October. “... At Kentucky, very well-coached there by Coach Cal. Played behind a guy who was pretty good in Oscar (Tshiebwe). I think for Daimion, it’s about playing with great confidence. I think he learned a lot in his two years there. But you’re talking about someone just loaded with talent. … Really wants to be coached and wants to be good.

“A little bit more skilled than I anticipated coming in. He has really nice touch around the basket. Again, needs the minutes. Hasn’t played a whole lot these last two years. But I’m incredibly excited about the opportunities ahead for him.”

Collins hasn’t produced much at LSU yet either. He scored 11 points in a 106-60 rout of Mississippi Valley State on opening night and has appeared in just four other games, none since Nov. 24, when he suffered an injured shoulder. In two of those games, he got just one minute of playing time. He played 13, 16 and 18 minutes in his other three appearances.

Kentucky will play at LSU on Feb. 21.

Cam’Ron Fletcher

Current school: Florida State.

Team rating: No. 73 in KenPom.

Years at UK: 2020-21.

After a tumultuous freshman season at UK — Calipari sent him home for a brief time amid the Cats’ 2020-21 struggles — Fletcher transferred to Florida State and emerged as a key contributor. He was putting up good numbers (10.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game) last season before a torn ACL ended his junior year.

Fletcher was contributing yet again this season as he rounded himself back into playing shape before suffering yet another season-ending injury last weekend in a loss to North Carolina, hurting the same knee that sidelined him last year. He was averaging 6.7 points and 5.0 rebounds in 15.6 minutes per game up until that point.

Cincinnati guard CJ Fredrick is averaging 8.3 points per game and shooting 57.1% from 3-point range this season.
Cincinnati guard CJ Fredrick is averaging 8.3 points per game and shooting 57.1% from 3-point range this season.

CJ Fredrick

Current school: Cincinnati.

Team rating: No. 27 in KenPom (34th in AP voting).

Years at UK: 2021-23.

The former Kentucky Sweet Sixteen MVP at Covington Catholic and a sharpshooting 3-point threat for two years at Iowa, the Cincinnati native missed his first season at UK due to injury and was again plagued by ailments when he returned to the court in 2022-23, posting career-low numbers across the board.

Fredrick is back home in Cincinnati, and he’d started six of seven games heading into Saturday’s rivalry game against Xavier. The 6-3 guard was averaging 8.3 points per game — despite a couple of zero-point performances — and shooting 57.1% from 3-point range, which entered the weekend at third-best in the country behind Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard (61.1%) and Virginia’s Isaac McKneely (58.1%). Cincy also entered the weekend with a 7-0 record.

Bryce Hopkins

Current school: Providence.

Team rating: No. 49 in KenPom (37th in AP voting).

Years at UK: 2021-22.

Hopkins was limited by injuries during his freshman year at UK, never broke into the team’s rotation and headed for Providence for his sophomore season. There, he blossomed into an immediate star — emerging as a possible NBA draft pick — and led the Friars to the NCAA Tournament, where they were defeated by Kentucky in the first round.

This season, Hopkins is averaging a team-high 16.2 points and 8.0 rebounds per game for first-year Providence head coach Kim English, who took over when Ed Cooley went to Georgetown. Hopkins is No. 91 on ESPN’s latest list of the top 100 NBA draft prospects.

Lance Ware was playing 12.0 minutes per game for Villanova heading into the weekend.
Lance Ware was playing 12.0 minutes per game for Villanova heading into the weekend.

Lance Ware

Current school: Villanova.

Team rating: No. 35 in KenPom (39th in AP voting).

Years at UK: 2020-23.

A Kentucky backup center for three seasons, Ware returned closer to his New Jersey home and is now in his first season at Villanova, where he was averaging just 0.8 points and 2.5 rebounds per game going into Saturday night’s matchup with UCLA.

Ware is playing 12.0 minutes per game — not much of an increase from the 9.9 he played at Kentucky last season — and has attempted just eight shots for the Big East Wildcats.

Sahvir Wheeler

Current school: Washington.

Team rating: No. 58 in KenPom.

Years at UK: 2021-23.

Kentucky’s starting point guard — when he was healthy — for each of the past two seasons, Wheeler missed the final few weeks of the 2022-23 campaign and was the first Wildcat to announce his departure from the program after the season-ending loss to Kansas State.

He has put up good numbers in his final season of college, averaging a career-high 16.1 points, plus 3.7 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game playing alongside former UK teammate Keion Brooks Jr. for the Huskies. (Though he is shooting just 24.0% from 3-point range, 65.7% on free throws and committing 3.4 turnovers per game.)

Wheeler is top 10 in the country in assists per game and fourth nationally in that stat among major-conference players.

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