The Kentucky Wildcats might get another great big man developed by another program in consecutive seasons. On Tuesday, sensational power forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. announced his decision to enter the NCAA transfer portal as a graduate transfer. Blackshear was a critical piece to the Virginia Tech Hokies’ run into the Sweet 16. However, with the majority of the team gone, including head coach Buzz Williams, Blackshear may find himself with one of the most talented rosters in college basketball next season.
For what it’s worth, there are no shortage of teams that would take Blackshear in a heartbeat. If you need a center, he would instantly become your starting center. If you need a forward, well, Blackshear can help your team dominate next season. He’s versatile and smooth in many aspects of the game. Therefore, the only reason Blackshear would leave the Hokies is to become the missing piece to a potential national championship contender.
During his junior season, Blackshear averaged 14.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. He started all 35 games for the (26-9) Hokies. Blackshear also played 30 minutes per game for the sometimes depleted Hokies. More importantly, he was one of the elite 3-point shooters on a team capable of sniping the nets from every direction. Yes, Blackshear was the de facto center. He was also a point-forward in the half court offense and connected on 37 percent of his 3-point attempts. He was the only player to shoot 50 percent from the field for the Hokies.
Many people may have wondered why he isn’t dabbling in the NBA draft during the spring. Well, it’s because Blackshear did put his name into the 2019 NBA draft. However, this is likely more about receiving feedback from NBA scouts while staying in the process of picking a school. Furthermore, Blackshear is not a lock to be a first round draft pick. So, he is capable of waiting one more season while playing college basketball at a high level.
Blackshear’s improvement has been amazing during his three-year tenure with the Hokies. He averaged 6.2 points and 4.5 rebounds as a freshman. Blackshear started 32 games as a sophomore and averaged 12.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Once again, he improved his numbers across the board during his junior season. In fact, the only offensive stat that decreased last season was the foul shooting. Blackshear dropped from 74.7 percent to 73.6 percent. Keep in mind, he is capable of becoming an 80 percent foul shooter in the future.
Blackshear was not a consensus top 100 high school basketball player. Therefore, he has always had a lot to prove on the court. Unlike some of the players that have entered the draft in recent years, Blackshear has maintained his productivity in whatever role he plays. The same will be said next season.
He is already 22 years old. It seems old, but Blackshear will have some seasoning to his game next season. Teams will most likely pass on his talent for some underdeveloped player in the future draft. Yet, he fits what the NBA is all about right now. A big man that can dribble, pass and shoot- is all the rage. He may also be the missing piece to the Wildcats next season.
It will be interesting to see if Blackshear follows his former coach to the Texas A&M Aggies. You can’t ignore the familiarity. However, the Aggies are in a sought of a rebuilding mode right now. Blackshear would certainly help speed the process up for a single season at least.