UNC News:, Louisville emerge as teams to ‘keep an eye on’ for Kentucky transfer center Ugonna Onyenso…Read More.

According to 247Sports Director of Scouting Adam Finkelstein, North Carolina and Louisville are viewed as prime destinations for Kentucky big man Ugonna Onyenso, who is currently exploring his options in the transfer portal. Onyenso, ranked as the second-best center still available, is testing the NBA Draft waters but is expected to have greater earning potential in college basketball next season.

When Ugonna Onyenso declared for the draft, most people thought that decision was a little premature,” Finkelstein said. “Now, it does look like his earning potential is going to be much, much higher in college basketball. North Carolina still needs a big. They have been looking for an Armando Bacot replacement and have not found one yet. They are considered among his top options.”

New Louisville head coach Pat Kelsey has been active in the transfer portal since taking the job and is looking to add a premier rim protector to the roster, according to Finkelstein. Alabama was also in the mix but isn’t considered a threat after landing Rutgers’ Cliff Omoruyi.

Louisville is another program that is considered among his top options,” Finkelstein said. “We’ve seen Pat Kelsey make some notable decisions. He and the Cardinals still need a rim protector. Alabama was in the mix, but considering they’ve already landed Cliff Omoruyi, I am sure that is not an option anymore. Keep an eye on North Carolina and Louisville for Onyenso going forward.”

Onyenso is rated as the No. 180 overall prospect and No. 29 center in the transfer portal this offseason. He’s the second-rated center available behind Florida State’s Baba Miller. The 7-footer averaged 3.6 points and 4.8 rebounds as a sophomore last season, shooting 55.0% from the field and 58.8% from the free-throw line. Onyenso was among college basketball’s best shot blockers in 2023-24. His 2.75 blocks per game average was fifth in Kentucky history and tied for third in Division I.

Hopefully I get to stay in the league because of the feedback I get,” Onyenso said this week. “It’s a learning process for me. If things go well, then I’ll stay. If they don’t, I’ll go back to school and get better. Any positive feedback that could make me stay, I’ll stay. I’m not talking to any school right now. I’ll leave that to my uncle to handle that for me. I’m locked into this process for now, giving this my 100% focus. They’re not talking to me. They’re talking to my uncle.”

Onyenso missed Kentucky’s first eight regular-season contests with a fractured foot and made his season debut against UNC in the CBS Sports Classic. He played 10 minutes off the bench and totaled one point, one rebound, one assist and three blocks. After a six-point, four-rebound, three-block performance at Arkansas on Jan. 27, John Calipari moved Onyenso into the starting center spot for the remainder of the season.

In his first career start, Onyenso posted career-highs with 13 points and 16 rebounds while also blocking eight shots in an overtime loss to Florida. Two weeks later, he set a Kentucky-Rupp Arena record with 10 blocks in a win over Ole Miss.

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