The Kentucky basketball program is dealing with the aftermath of John Calipari's exit. Nevertheless, new head coach Mark Pope is working diligently in preparing for 2024-25. The Wildcats are inching closer to securing Drexel college basketball transfer portal center Amari Williams, given a new report.

Williams has narrowed his top three transfer choices down to St. Johns, Kentucky, and Mississippi State, ESPN's Jeff Borzello reports. The 6-foot-1o center is coming off an impressive year of production at Drexel. Williams scored 12.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game in 2023-24.

Williams is a top-tier interior defender and shot-blocker. He won the Colonial Athletic Association's Defensive Player of the Year award three years in a row. In addition, Williams is a double-double machine. Whatever team he joins through the college basketball transfer portal will get a massive upgrade.

Hopefully, Amari Williams will land with Kentucky after the program lost highly touted big man Aaron Bradshaw to Ohio State. The 7-foot-1 freshman spent one year with the Wildcats and averaged 4.9 points, 3.3 assists, and 0.7 blocks per game. However, he only played 13.8 minutes per game.

Bradshaw entered the 2023-24 season with high expectations. He was expected to be a huge part of the rotation and earned NBA Draft interest as well. However, a preseason injury somewhat stunted his growth. Losing a prospect like Bradshaw hurt Kentucky, but there is hope in landing someone like Amari Williams.

It will be tough for the Wildcats to replace the talent and success John Calipari brought to the program. Since Calipari joined Kentucky in 2009, he helped the program to 12 NCAA Tournament appearances and coached some of the best basketball prospects in the world.

Nevertheless, Kentucky is in good hands with former BYU coach Mark Pope.

Mark Pope and Kentucky basketball look to turn a new corner

Mark Pope is no stranger to the Kentucky basketball culture. He was a member of the Wildcats' national title team from 1996. After taking up coaching, he became one of the most respected minds in college basketball. Most notably, he joined the BYU basketball program in 2019 and helped the team reach great heights.

Pope achieved a 110-51 record as Head Coach of the Cougars, including a 66-12 home record at the Marriot Center. BYU had two NCAA Tournament appearances during Pope's five-year tenure. In 2021, the Cougars earned the No. 6 seed in the East region but lost 73-62 to a talented UCLA team in the first round.

Later, Pope helped lead the team to another sixth-seeded showing in the 2024 March Madness bracket. His squad fought hard but lost 71-67 to Duquesne in another first-round exit.

Pope's coaching efforts have not gone without recognition. He was named to the Naismith Coach of the Late Season Watchlist in 2023-24 after leading the Cougars to a 23-11 record and the program's 31st total NCAA Tournament showing.

BYU navigated the challenges that came with changing conferences in 2023. After spending several years in the West Coast Conference, the program joined the ranks of the Big 12, where they competed respectably. Pope's squad finished fifth in the conference standings. They also earned notable wins against previously ranked No. 7 Kansas, No. 11 Baylor, and No. 24 Iowa.

Coach Pope can undoubtedly take Kentucky to the next level.