May 25, 2024

John Calipari Won’t Fill Arkansas Roster: ‘They’re Leaving Anyway’ in Transfer Portal | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS - APRIL 10: New Arkansas Razorbacks basketball head coach John Calipari holds his first news conference after his introduction at Bud Walton Arena on April 10, 2024 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Newly-hired men’s basketball head coach John Calipari doesn’t plan to stack the Arkansas roster with the kind of reserve talent he put together at Kentucky.

Calipari told former Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson on Wednesday’s episode of their podcast Ways to Win that he plans to only keep “eight or nine guys” with the Razorbacks to start the 2024-25 season.

“They’re leaving anyway, and why would I develop a kid for someone else? Why would I do that?” Calipari said.

Calipari added that he wasn’t the only college coach taking on the philosophy as transfer portal numbers swell.

“I’m hearing a lot of guys are saying eight or nine guys,” Calipari said.

He added: “If there is a tenth guy, he knows he’s the tenth guy.”

In order to fill out the Razorbacks’ practice roster, Calipari said he would seek out graduate assistant coaches who “played in Europe, or just got done playing, and can still play.”

“We can use them in practice,” Calipari said. “The women’s programs have five guys that they call ‘managers,’ but that’s who they scrimmage against. And I’m saying, you know what, maybe we’ll do it that way.”

Arkansas currently has the highest-rated transfer portal class in men’s college basketball, per 247Sports, after forward Adou Thiero and center Zvonimir Ivisic followed Calipari from Kentucky to Arkansas. Calipari has also secured commitments from Florida Atlantic transfer Johnell Davis and Tennessee transfer Jonas Aidoo.

Arkansas is additionally bringing in a trio of five-star freshmen in Boogie Fland, Karter Knox, and Billy Richmond, all three of whom were previously committed to Kentucky.

Calipari led the Wildcats to an NCAA title in 2012 in part because of bench depth players like former Kentucky star Darius Miller. Although he may have less bench depth with the Razorbacks this fall, Calipari will now hope the incoming class is strong enough to succeed despite a smaller roster.