Kerry Blackshear Jr. is nearing a decision. The top transfer option on the market has visited Tennessee and Kentucky in recent weeks after earlier looks at Arkansas and Florida. The thought was that Blackshear would go pay his old coach Buzz Williams a visit at Texas A&M before making his final choice, but now it sounds like that won’t happen.
Evan Daniels reports that Blackshear’s decision could now come as early as Sunday, and that his visits are likely finished.
Sources: Kerry Blackshear, the best available transfer, isn’t expected to take any more official visits. The growing thought is he’s extremely close to announcing his decision, which could come as early as Sunday.— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) June 22, 2019
To follow that note, Rivals’ Corey Evans told Kentucky.com earlier this week that the race was likely down to Kentucky vs. Tennessee.
“I honestly don’t know,” he said. “And that’s because the kid doesn’t know yet, I don’t think. I don’t think he knows what exactly he wants. Tennessee can offer him the idea of playing more of a ‘4-5’ role and kind of expanding his game and having more of a chance to be ‘the guy.’
“Compared to Kentucky, which offers, of course, the blue-blood platform and all that. They’re in the same conference, but they’re two separate opportunities. So, I think it’s whichever one that he really feels comfortable with and which one can put him in the best spot possible for the NBA.”
Blackshear averaged 15 points and 7.5 rebounds last season at Virginia Tech, leading the Hokies to a sweet sixteen appearance. With one season of eligibility remaining, Blackshear is looking for his perfect fit to finish his career.
Both Tennessee and Kentucky are outstanding choices that offer slightly different feels for Blackshear, as Evans noted. What Tennessee can offer that Kentucky can’t is the chance to undeniably be ‘the guy.’ Blackshear could slide in and pick up right where Grant Williams left off, while still having a couple of senior guards in Lamonte Turner and Jordan Bowden to lean on. Five-star freshman guard Josiah James gives the Vols even more firepower that they could place around Blackshear.
With a decision set to come on Sunday, Tennessee’s upside for the 2019-20 season hangs in the balance. The addition of Blackshear would instantly put Tennessee back into the contenders category for next season.
Also, keep in mind that Tennessee doesn’t currently have room on the roster for Blackshear. That means if he chooses Tennessee, one current scholarship player would have to go.