The new era at Kentucky basketball is underway as former BYU head coach Mark Pope takes over following John Calipari's exit to Arkansas. The press conference for Pope was one-of-a-kind at a jam-packed Rupp Arena, so expectations are high for him.

But, he just landed his first major commitment of his Kentucky run by bringing over former BYU recruit Collin Chandler, as he posted on his Instagram account with a lengthy caption.

“I am grateful for Cougar Nation in taking me in as family from day 1 and supporting me in a precious time of my life…Through the past couple of days, the path I had before envisioned has been blurred. After talking with my family and many prayers, this vision has become clearer than ever. I am humbled to get the opportunity to continue this journey at the University of Kentucky! Go Wildcats!!!”

This is a huge get for Pope and the Kentucky program. Chandler was a top-50 recruit in the 2022 recruiting class but has been away from basketball for two years while serving his mission. So, his freshman year will begin in 2024-2025 and is he now headed to Kentucky.

Chandler played high school basketball at Farmington in Utah and was the No. 1 recruit in the state in 2022, so there is a ton of talent surrounding as he comes to Lexington.

Kentucky basketball adds key piece after flurry of departures 

Clare Grant/Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

With Mark Pope coming in and John Calipari leaving, there was always going to be a giant overhaul on the roster. DJ Wagner and Boogie Fland entered the portal. Aaron Bradshaw also entered and ended up at Ohio State. Five-star recruit Jayden Quaintance also left the program after asking for his NLI release and has been commonly linked to Louisville.

Big man Zvonimir Ivisic left and then followed Calipari from Kentucky to Arkansas, so there were a lot of losses for Mark Pope early on. However, bringing in Chandler is a huge step in the right direction for the program.

Another big question is whether or not Reed Sheppard will return, and Pope's relationship with Reed's father is certainly something to monitor. Pope played with Reed's father, Jeff, on that 1996 Kentucky national title team, and Jeff was also on hand for the press conference at Rupp Arena.

When Pope was asked about it, he gave a hilarious answer.

As of now, Kentucky basketball has Colin Chandler and Travis Perry, but Pope is working hard to bring in talented players and bring the Wildcats back after a frustrating end to the John Calipari era. Mark Pope certainly has big shoes to fill, but he has the backing of Kentucky basketball fans and has already landed a huge piece in the early goings.