Skip to content

Kyle Wiltjer leaving Kentucky, will explore transfer options

Jun 24, 2013, 5:53 PM EST

SEC Vanderbilt Kentucky Basketball

Looks like you can add one more defection off last season’s Kentucky team. Kyle Wiltjer, a 6-10 junior-to-be, is leaving the program.

He’s the third player to leave the program since the end of a disappointing season for the Wildcats, going 21-12 and being upset by Robert Morris in the first round of the NIT.

This transfer, however, is much more significant than point guard Ryan Harrow, who left the team and headed to Georgia State to be closer to his ailing father. Archie Goodwin announced his intentions to enter this year’s NBA Draft earlier in the year.

Last season, Wiltjer, a Portland, Ore. native, averaged 10.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, shooting 36.7 percent from three-point range. His point total doubled from his freshman year to his sophomore year, when he averaged five points per game as a key reserve on the Wildcats’ national championship team.

The most intriguing thing about this case is that in a statement made by Calipari on his website, it sounds as if the door is totally open for him to return to the team.

“Kyle’s choice to explore options at another school disappoints me, but it’s his decision at the end of the day, and I fully support his decision,” Calipari said. “I would love for him to go through this process and return to us, but I will support him and help him in any way I can.”

Wiltjer released a letter to fans on the Kentucky athletics website, expressing his gratitude for the school, program and fanbase but expressing a need to “play a more significant role” on the court.

“Heading into college my dream was to win a National Championship and compete with and play against the best players in the country,” Wiltjer said in the letter. “Without a doubt, I accomplished both of these goals in my two years at Kentucky.  Now as I head into my junior year, I recognize that my new and adjusted goals require me to make some very difficult upcoming decisions.  Coach Cal has been everything I expected him to be, as I have felt very comfortable talking with him about my situation.  I cannot stress enough how supportive Coach has been during this period. He is more than a coach to me, and for that I am forever grateful.”

“During this next year, I will be working on my body so that I am able to compete the way I know I can.  I want to find a situation that will help me do this as well as play a more significant role, wherever that may be. Even though I might physically leave Lexington, I will never forget the support and kindness that everyone has shown my family and [me.]  It is difficult to put into words how hard it is to possibly leave BBN, yet I am confident that whatever I choose, I will give it my all. Regardless, I will always bleed blue and will never forget these amazing last two years at Kentucky.”

This is a only surprising move because of the lateness of it. Most school’s are already well into the first summer school session and — though I believe it will not be hard for Wiltjer to find a school where he can play a solid role as a tall shooter with good rebounding ability — it might be difficult for Wiltjer to have his pick of school’s with an open scholarship.

By most accounts, Wiltjer would’ve been buried on the bench next season with all the talent that is landing in Lexington this summer, and as a result, his stats may have regressed to that of his freshman year, or less. But he’ll have his pick of suitors coming after his talents.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

Latest Posts
  1. Dez Wells’ game-winner caps wild sequence in No. 13 Maryland’s win over Northwestern (VIDEO)

    Jan 25, 2015, 10:35 PM EST

    Dez Wells AP

    Northwestern has lost its last three games by a total of five points.

  2. Four-star 2016 big man verbally commits to Arizona State

    Jan 25, 2015, 9:36 PM EST

    Herb Sendek, Jonathan Gilling Herb Sendek, Jonathan Gilling

    Lucas Siewert joins small forward Brendan Bailey as Arizona State’s second four-star verbal commitment in the 2016 class.

  3. Better shot selection, distribution helps No. 10 Louisville take care of Pittsburgh

    Jan 25, 2015, 7:00 PM EST

    Louisville v Pittsburgh Getty Images

    Eight days after attempting 25 three-pointers in their loss to No. 5 Duke, the Cardinals attempted just 12 and scored 40 points in the paint against Pittsburgh.

  4. Three-pointer with 5.2 seconds remaining completes second-half rally for No. 20 Northern Iowa (VIDEO)

    Jan 25, 2015, 6:24 PM EST

    Northern Iowa v Iowa Northern Iowa v Iowa

    UNI erased a 12-point second half deficit to win at Illinois State, and they remain a game behind No. 14 Wichita State in the Missouri Valley standings.

  5. Chest pains experienced Saturday lead to USF forward missing Sunday’s game

    Jan 25, 2015, 5:38 PM EST

    Chris Perry Chris Perry

    Chris Perry leads the Bulls in rebounding, and chest pains suffered during the team’s workout Saturday resulted in his having to be hospitalized.

  6. Sunday’s Snacks: Coach K makes history, No. 2 Virginia survives in Blacksburg

    Jan 25, 2015, 5:09 PM EST

    Mike Krzyzewski Mike Krzyzewski

    Also of note on Sunday was Ohio State picking up its first RPI Top 50 win of the season, and both No. 8 Notre Dame and No. 13 Maryland coming back from double-digit deficits.

  7. Coach K earns career win No. 1,000 in No. 5 Duke’s win over St. John’s

    Jan 25, 2015, 4:13 PM EST

    Mike Krzyzewski AP

    Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski picked up career win No. 1,000 as the No. 5 Blue Devils bested St. John’s.

  8. Well-traveled former Ole Miss guard transfers to a new school

    Jan 25, 2015, 2:30 PM EST

    Auburn Mississippi Basketball AP

    Well-traveled former Ole Miss guard Derrick Millinghaus has found a new home.

  9. Kentucky lands commitment from international Class of 2016 big man

    Jan 25, 2015, 1:21 PM EST

    (Basketball New Zealand) (Basketball New Zealand)

    Kentucky is on the board in the 2016 class with a highly-touted big man from New Zealand.

  10. Former Memphis forward is transferring to Rhode Island

    Jan 25, 2015, 1:00 PM EST

    Kuran Iverson, Greg Lewis AP

    A former four-star prospect is heading to Rhode Island.

  11. Former Miami (OH) point guard now a hot name in the 2015 NFL Draft

    Jan 25, 2015, 12:00 PM EST

    Quinten Rollins, Javarez Willis AP

    A former Miami point guard is finding tremendous success on the football field and is a even being talked about as a first-rounder in the 2015 NFL Draft.

  12. Report: Elite 2016 international big man could decide today between Kentucky, Texas and Villanova

    Jan 25, 2015, 10:10 AM EST

    (Basketball New Zealand) (Basketball New Zealand)

    One of the best big men in the 2016 class could decide between three powerhouse programs on Sunday.

  13. Pregame Shootaround: Coach K goes for win 1,000 against St. John’s; 11 ranked teams in action

    Jan 25, 2015, 9:00 AM EST

    Mike Krzyzewski AP

    Coach K goes for win No. 1,000 against St. John’s and a fun battle of elite freshmen guards in the Big Ten are Sunday’s highlights.

  14. Austin Nichols hits a game-winner, Memphis coach Josh Pastner dances (VIDEO)

    Jan 25, 2015, 1:05 AM EST

    Getty Images Getty Images

    I feel comfortable saying I’m a better dancer than Josh Pastner. Not by much, though.

  15. Saturday’s Snacks: No. 18 West Virginia, Georgetown win absolute thrillers

    Jan 24, 2015, 11:58 PM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Get caught up on everything that has happened in college basketball on Saturday.

  16. Northwestern State staff wears special pants for ‘Suits and Sneakers’ game against McNeese State (PHOTO)

    Jan 24, 2015, 11:34 PM EST

    Patrick Netherton Patrick Netherton

    The pants worn by the coaching staff were one of the highlights in Northwestern State’s 92-68 win over McNeese State.

  17. #POSTERIZED: Memphis’ Markel Crawford dunks on Tulane defender (VIDEO)

    Jan 24, 2015, 9:31 PM EST

    Central Florida v Memphis Central Florida v Memphis

    Crawford and his teammates are looking to rebound from the 18-point loss they suffered at Tulsa Wednesday night.

  18. Central Connecticut State beats Wagner on Brandon Peel’s buzzer-beating three (VIDEO)

    Jan 24, 2015, 9:20 PM EST

    CCSU Athletics CCSU Athletics

    Peel finished the game with 17 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks as the Blue Devils picked up their first win in NEC play.

  19. No. 21 Baylor beats No. 19 Oklahoma, should we be concerned about the Sooners?

    Jan 24, 2015, 8:34 PM EST

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Baylor really needed this win, but Oklahoma has now lost three of their last four.

  20. Balanced effort moves William & Mary into tie for first in the CAA (VIDEO)

    Jan 24, 2015, 7:20 PM EST

    William & Mary v North Carolina William & Mary v North Carolina

    The Tribe bounced back from a loss at Delaware earlier in the week to move into a tie for first in the CAA.