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Virginia Tech’s Kerry Blackshear Jr. withdraws from NBA Draft; Kentucky a possible transfer destination?

Virginia Tech forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. announced Wednesday night he has withdrawn from the 2019 NBA Draft.

Blackshear Jr.’s decision isn’t a major surprise — it wasn’t likely he would have been among the 60 players who will be drafted next month — but it is gigantic news in the world of college basketball. Because he has already finished his undergraduate courses, he’s in position to become the most highly sought out graduate transfer of the offseason.

When Blackshear Jr. announced in April he was exploring a graduate transfer — a decision simultaneously announced with his entering the NBA Draft — it set off an immediate courtship from everyone, everywhere. Now that he’s officially returning to college and the NBA is on hold for another year, it’s safe to say the suitors will soon be calling again.

“You name it we heard from them,” Blackshear Sr. told 247Sports in April when asked which schools have called.

Blackshear Jr., the 6-foot-10, 250 pound forward, averaged 14.9 points and 7.5 rebounds last season for the Hokies. Returning to Blacksburg, Virginia, is still a possibility, but as Blackshear Jr. and his family have maintained all along, all options are on the table.

“After taking the time to weigh my options, I have decided to withdraw my name from the NBA Draft,” he said in his announcement. “I am still evaluating my options for my last year of eligibility and feel extremely fortunate to be in the position that I am in. I look forward to continuing my education and earning a Master’s degree while competing in the sport that I love as I continue working toward my goal of playing professionally.”

Also on the table as a potential landing spot, according to CBS Sports insider Gary Parrish: a graduate transfer to Kentucky. The Wildcats got good news this week when big men Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery announced their returns to school, joining forces with Bucknell big man Nate Sestina. But Blackshear’s sheer size and ability to play on the interior as a true big would provide tremendous value for a team looking to replace the lost production of Reid Travis.

Kentucky is No. 3 in the updated CBS Sports Top 25 (and 1) and in position to improve that standing before the season begins, dependent upon what Blackshear Jr. chooses to do. Based off that ranking and Blackshear Jr.’s sheer talent and production, it’s possible his ultimate decision could significantly alter the course of college basketball next season.

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