Kentucky Basketball Rumored to Be Leading for ‘Big-Time’ Transfer Star

Kentucky basketball coach Mark Pope hopes to sign Chaz Lanier.

Getty Kentucky basketball coach Mark Pope hopes to sign Chaz Lanier.

In what has been a wild offseason for Kentucky basketball and the NCAA in general, we could yet see some twists and turns. New coach Mark Pope has already rebuilt the roster on the fly in the wake of John Calipari’s departure, and rumors are still cooking about who could be next to come to Lexington. One to watch, per Matt Norlander of CBS Sports: North Florida leading scorer Chaz Lanier.

Lanier is a polished 6-4 scoring guard who averaged 19.7 points for the Ospreys last year. It was a breakout season for Lanier, as he had averaged just 4.2 points on 42.3% shooting in his first three seasons. But he got his shot together as a fourth-year junior, making 51.0% from the field and 44.0% from the 3-point line.

He was a first-team All A-Sun player last year, after spending most of his career coming off the bench. And Kentucky basketball may well be the leader in bringing Lanier in.

Said Norlander on his podcast: “North Florida’s Chaz Lanier is not a big-time name but he is being sought after by big schools, and it is looking like that is Kentucky, and if it’s not Kentucky, it’s Tennessee. And if it is not Tennessee it might be BYU.”

Chaz Lanier Has Plenty of Competition

Indeed, Tennessee has been considered the team that had the best chances at landing Lanier, who is a Nashville native and went to high school in the city. As the Tennesseean reported on Lanier, tabbing him as the Volunteers’ top potential recruit:

“North Florida’s Chaz Lanier is as good at it gets in the portal. Lanier averaged 19.7 points and shot 44.4% on 3-pointers with the Ospreys. The 6-foot-4, 199-pound Lanier played high school basketball at The Ensworth School in Nashville. Competition for Lanier will be fierce.”

The question for the Wildcats and Pope is whether they need Lanier. He would give the team extra scoring in the backcourt, but Pope is also attempting to land Jaxson Robinson, who was also a polished wing scorer and played for Pope at BYU.

Robinson averaged 14.2 points last year and is testing the waters in the NBA draft. Potentially, he could be a second-round draft pick—Bleacher Report has him as the No. 46 overall prospect, but The Ringer and do not have him in the Top 60 at all.

Another year in college probably won’t affect his chances, and he potentially could boost himself with a good year in Blue.

Kentucky Basketball Could Add 2 More Top Transfers — or None

The dynamic among Robinson, Lanier, the portal and the draft is interconnected. Lanier might be reluctant to commit to Kentucky basketball if he thinks Robinson is going to land in Lexington. But if Pope can convince him he will play either way, perhaps he can get Lanier to sign on.

Or, at least, Pope could use the possibility of Lanier coming to the Wildcats to nudge Robinson to Lexington.

Discussing Lanier on Kentucky Sports Radio this week, host Matt Jones said, “Kentucky, if they get him, I think they still want to get Jaxon Robinson, but it gives you a little breathing room if you don’t get him. Because I think this kid could start.

“They wanted two more impact pieces. … I think they thought Lanier was going to go to Tennessee, but if they’re able to convince him to go to Kentucky—I mean, Tennessee was wanting to bring him in as a starter, I think he could come in and almost certainly start right away.

“He’s a scorer. I think they’re still missing a scorer. He’s a scorer.”