[Ed. Note: This was published before the news came out that Sahvir Wheeler will not participate after undergoing a minor procedure.]
Tonight, Kentucky Basketball celebrates
six five seniors: Oscar Tshiebwe, Jacob Toppin, Sahvir Wheeler, Antonio Reeves, CJ Fredrick, and Brennan Canada. Because of the NCAA’s extra year for COVID relief, all six can return for another season, decisions that will be made following the season. That said, it’s still going to be an emotional night at Rupp as fans potentially say goodbye to six five Wildcats, including Oscar, one of the biggest fan favorites in recent memory.
six-person five-person Senior Night seems like a lot for Kentucky, it’s because it is. It’s the highest number of participants since 1975 when Kevin Grevey, Jimmy Dan Conner, Mike Flynn, Bob Guyette, G.J. Smith, and Jerry Hale celebrated their final home game. The most players to go through the ceremony in the John Calipari Era is four in 2010, although Patrick Patterson was a junior that graduated early.
- 2010: Ramon Harris, Perry Stevenson, Mark Krebs, Patrick Patterson (Not a senior but graduated early)
- 2011: Josh Harrellson
- 2012: Darius Miller, Eloy Vargas
- 2013: Twany Beckham, Julius Mays
- 2014: Jarrod Polson, Jon Hood
- 2015: Sam Malone, Todd Lanter, Brian Long
- 2016: Alex Poythress
- 2017: Dominique Hawkins, Mychal Mulder, Derek Willis
- 2018: None
- 2019: Jonny David, Reid Travis
- 2020: Nate Sestina
- 2021: Davion Mintz, Olivier Sarr, Riley Welch
- 2022: Kellan Grady, Davion Mintz* (used COVID eligibility year)
- 2023: Oscar Tshiebwe, Jacob Toppin,
Sahvir Wheeler, CJ Fredrick, Antonio Reeves, Brennan Canada (All have COVID eligibility remaining)
Senior Night is always special, but in the Calipari Era, I’m not sure anything will top Derek Willis proposing to his girlfriend, Keely, in 2017.
For more Calipari Era Senior Day/Night moments, check out this trip down memory lane from last year. If you’re going to Rupp Arena tonight, make sure to be in your seat by 6:35 p.m. as the ceremony will begin a few minutes later. Six seniors, hoops, and families is a lot!
Finally, no Senior Night post would be complete without the video of Happy Chandler singing “My Old Kentucky Home” in 1988: