June 14, 2024

BYU’s Starting Big Man Enters Transfer Portal, Kentucky Eyes Frontcourt Options

Kentucky may have a new frontcourt option as BYU’s big man Noah Waterman has entered the NCAA transfer portal. Although the portal closed on May 1, Waterman had a 30-day window to enter following the departure of BYU head coach Mark Pope to Kentucky.

The 6-foot-11, 220-pound forward started all 33 games for BYU in his senior season, averaging 9.5 points and 5.4 rebounds in 24.1 minutes per game while shooting 37% from beyond the arc. In his junior year (2022-23), he averaged 4.6 points and 2.8 rebounds in 17 minutes per game, starting 14 of 33 games.

Waterman began his college career at Niagara and also played two seasons for Detroit-Mercy. Over 102 career games with 76 starts, he has career averages of 8.0 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, shooting 38.8% from three-point range with 161 career three-pointers.

Louisville, which also added former BYU big man Aly Khalifa and is seeking another big man, is expected to show interest in Waterman as well.

Kentucky is also hosting Fairleigh Dickinson transfer Ansley Almonor for an official visit. The 6-foot-7, 220-pound forward, rated as a 3-star prospect, entered the transfer portal on March 19. As a junior, Almonor started 31 of 32 games, averaging a team-high 16.4 points, along with 5.1 rebounds, and 1.7 assists, shooting 43.6% from the field and 39.4% from three-point range.

Almonor, a two-time All-Northeast Conference selection, helped lead Fairleigh Dickinson to an NCAA Tournament appearance last season, including a notable win over No. 1 seed Purdue. As a sophomore, he averaged 13.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists, shooting 38.1% from deep. Over the past two seasons, he started 65 of 68 games for FDU and is a career 38.5% three-point shooter with 180 career makes.

Transfer Forward Noah Waterman Commits to BYU - Vanquish The Foe

In addition to Almonor, Kentucky is actively recruiting other players, including North Florida transfer Chaz Lanier, BYU transfer Jaxson Robinson, and Miami transfer Wooga Poplar. These players have until May 29 to withdraw from the 2024 NBA Draft.

Kentucky’s seven-man transfer class is currently ranked No. 5 nationally by 247Sports and includes:

  • No. 21 Brandon Garrison (Oklahoma State)
  • No. 28 Otega Oweh (Oklahoma)
  • No. 45 Lamont Butler (San Diego State)
  • No. 66 Andrew Carr (Wake Forest)
  • No. 81 Amari Williams (Drexel)
  • No. 104 Koby Brea (Dayton)
  • No. 118 Kerr Kriisa (West Virginia)

Additionally, coach Mark Pope signed former BYU signee Collin Chandler, who is returning from a two-year Mormon mission, Kentucky Mr. Basketball and the state’s all-time leading scorer Travis Perry, and Harlan County 4-star and former South Carolina signee Trent Noah, bringing Kentucky’s number of scholarship players to 10.

“We’re at 10 scholarships right now. I have two really, really important pieces that I have to add. The 13th scholarship is a floating piece. It could be a place for a young player. It could be a place for a senior player who is going to take a redshirt year. It could be a place for a project. It could be a place for a high-risk guy. We’re really dialed in on filling these last two spots. It is a priority right now.”

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