Pope adds veteran guards from San Diego State, Oklahoma

Published 3:25 pm Tuesday, April 30, 2024

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Kentucky coach Mark Pope’s first roster is starting to come together with the addition of two more guards from the transfer portal on Saturday.

Former San Diego State star Lamont Butler and former Oklahoma guard Otega Oweh are on board as Wildcats. That puts UK’s roster at five including incoming freshmen Travis Perry (Kentucky Mr. Basketball), Collin Chandler (BYU transfer) and Amari Williams (Drexel transfer), a 6-foot-10 center and the only non-guard so far.

Butler helped the Aztecs reach the NCAA championship game after sinking the game-winning shot in a 72-71 triumph over Florida Atlantic in the 2023 NCAA Tournament national semifinals. San Diego State lost to Connecticut in the championship game. He also was a member of the 2023 NCAA All-Tournament Team and a member of the All-South Regional Team.

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“Lamont Butler is the definition of a winner,Pope said.He might be the best perimeter defensive player in all of college basketball. Lamont has helped lead championship teams for the last four years and hit one of the most epic shots in the NCAA Tournament to send his team to the championship game.”

Butler, a guard, is two-time Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year and averaged 7.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game during his four-year career at San Diego State. He will be a graduate transfer with one year of eligibility remaining.

“He is an elite student who takes his academics seriously,Pope said.He cares about the community and will embrace the power of wearingKentuckyacross the front of his chest. I’m extremely excited to coach Lamont and to see the influence he’s going to have on this team.”

Butler scored 1,008 career points and collected 305 rebounds at San Diego State. He also had 338 assists and 183 steals. The 6-foot-2 guard recorded 43 double-figure scoring efforts, dished out five or more assists 17 times and logged 22 games with at least three steals.

Oweh (pronounced oh-TEG-uh OH-way) averaged 11.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game as a sophomore at Oklahoma, seeing action in 60 games and made 37 starts over a two-year career with the Sooners. He will have two years of eligibility with the Wildcats.

“Otega shot 37 percent from the 3-point line last year,Pope said.He’s elite at earning trips to the free-throw line and he brings a special physicality and intensity to the game. Otega spent his entire season last year picking up the point guard full court in the Big 12. His tenacity on the court is contagious and his humility off the court is going to endear himself to Big Blue Nation.”

During Oweh’s sophomore season, he averaged 11.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.0 assists per outing. He connected on 49.3% of his field-goal attempts and 37.7% from 3-point range. Oweh registered double-digit scoring efforts on 19 occasions, including a career-high 23 points on 6-of-10 shooting and 10 for 11 from the free-throw line against North Carolina.

Additionally, he had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds against West Virginia. Oweh added defensive savviness to the Sooners’ lineup with 12 games of multiple steals, including a seven-swipe effort against Green Bay. He notched seven games with five or more rebounds from the guard position.

Oweh was the second-leading scorer for a team that went 20-12 overall and 8-10 in Big 12 action.

As a freshman, Oweh made nine starts in 28 appearances. He logged averages of 4.8 points, 2.1 boards and 0.2 assists per game and had four double-figure scoring efforts.

In all, the 6-foot-4 guard has scored 498 points, hauled in 179 rebounds and tallied 80 steals. He’s connected on 49.8% of his 2-point attempts and 36.8% from 3-point range. He was 20 of 53 (37.7%) from long distance in 2023-24. He ranked among the top 20 in steals in the Big 12 Conference during both seasons with the Sooners.

Carr commits to Cats

The Kentucky men’s basketball roster continues to take shape with the addition of Andrew Carr to head coach Mark Pope’s inaugural roster it was announced on Monday.

Carr is a collegiate 1,000-point scorer who has also amassed more than 500 rebounds and 100 blocks in a four-year career at Delaware and Wake Forest. He will have one season of eligibility remaining.

“Andrew Carr is the prototypical college and NBA power forward,Pope said. He’s incredibly skilled and an elite level decision maker. He shoots the ball with terrific range and is a force inside shooting 66 percent on 2-point field goal attempts.

“Andrew understands what it means to wear this jersey and he understands the assignment and why he is coming to Lexington. He’s been a captain of every team he’s ever been associated with. He’s a steadying force and a great leader who Kentucky fans are going to love.”

Carr has averaged 11.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game in 117 career contests. In two seasons at Wake Forest, Carr notched averages of 12.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.2 blocks per outing.

As a senior with the Deacons, Carr started all 35 games and averaged 13.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He shot 52.6% from the field and 37.1% from distance. Carr registered seven double-doubles on the season, including three against league foes. The 6-foot-11 big boasted a career-high 31 points against Georgia in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament.

Carr started all 33 games and averaged 10.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game as a junior at Wake Forest. He led the squad with 32 blocks and also paced the team in field-goal percentage at 49.4%. He had a game-high 14 points in his debut with Wake Forest against Fairfiled. He was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week following consecutive 20-point scoring efforts including a 21-point, 13-rebound double-double against Boston College. Wake Forest totaled 40 wins in two seasons with Carr on the roster.

Cowboy to Cat

Kentucky coach Mark Pope announced the addition of Brandon Garrison, a 6-foot-11 big, on Tuesday, adding the Oklahoma State transfer to the Wildcats’ rapidly growing 2024-25 roster. He will have three seasons of eligibility remaining.

In his freshman season with the Cowboys, Garrison appeared in 32 games, starting 29, while averaging 7.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per contest. The Oklahoma City native also shot a team-best 57.2% from the floor in his first collegiate season, the fourth-best all-time among OSU rookies with at least 80 makes.

Brandon’s a McDonald’s All-American and a FIBA U18 Americas gold medalist with Team USA who crushed me at BYU last year and crushed Coach [Alvin] Brooks at Baylor last year,Pope said.We’re unbelievably glad he’s on our team now. He’s an incredible person with a brilliant, joyful smile that BBN will fall in love with. We’re really excited about our front line and Brandon will be a key piece to it.”

Garrison elevated his play during Big 12 action, averaging 9.9 points in conference games, including three 20-point efforts. In the Cowboys’ Big 12 opener, Garrison dropped 20 points on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting vs. Baylor, while also collecting eight rebounds. The big man again scored 20 points against West Virginia, before tallying a career-high 21 points against Pope’s BYU squad in February.

The freshman showed a knack for getting to the line, registering the league’s highest free-throw rate during conference play per KenPom at 71.6 (68 free-throw attempts, 95 field-goal attempts). He scored in double figures nine teams with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds against South Carolina State.

In addition to his offensive abilities, Garrison also brings a strong shot-blocking presence. He totaled 47 blocks on the 2023-24 season, the fifth-most ever by an Oklahoma State freshman. He set a personal-best with six blocks against Houston Christian in November and registered five blocks vs. UCF in the Big 12 Tournament.