On Monday afternoon, Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari released a statement on his website stating that junior-to-be forward Kyle Wiltjer will leave the program.
Wiltjer’s decision can’t come as all that much of a surprise, mainly given the loaded recruiting class that is heading to Lexington next season. Wiltjer, who was a former top prospect in his own right, played a role in coming off the bench as a freshman during the Wildcats’ National Championship campaign in 2011-12. Last season as a sophomore however, Wiltjer was given a larger role, but the team struggled collectively, failing to even qualify for the NCAA Tournament before getting upset in the opening round of the NIT by Robert Morris.
That loss ironically enough, will likely be Wiltjer’s final game in a Wildcats’ uniform. As Calipari states on his website, he hopes that the 6-foot-10 Oregon-native will re-join the program, but you’d assume that’s not going to be the case. Calipari has offered to help assist Wiltjer in his next decision and finding a new home, considering a transfer is inevitable.
Wiltjer averaged 10.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game this past season. That offensive number was more than double his points per game average from his freshman campaign, but his playing time barred no guarantees heading into the 2013-14 season — it’s just the system and the recruitment that Kentucky has developed under Calipari.
There is no word on what Wiltjer’s next move will be from here or where he will look assuming its outside of Lexington. As an Oregon-native, it could be interesting to see if Dana Altman and the Oregon Ducks make a play. Altman has developed a theme recently of landing impact transfers and that’s exactly what Wiltjer could be. Oregon State will be another team to watch, considering his father, Greg, once played for the Beavers.
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS