Kentucky Basketball Finally Poaches ‘Juggernaut’ Mid-Major Star

This is not John Calipari’s Kentucky basketball. New coach Mark Pope, who took over for Calipari after the venerable but controversial coach left for Arkansas in April, continues to chart his own path in putting together the 2024-25 roster and this week finally locked up a commitment from NCAA transfer Ansley Almonor, the 6-foot-7 shooter from Fairleigh Dickinson.

Almonor had appeared destined to move on to Siena in upstate New York, a mid-major school in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, before Pope and his staff moved in—the only major Power 5 conference team to go after Almonor. Iona and Pepperdine were also on Almonor’s list.
Certainly, he is not a player Calipari would have pursued.
And maybe that’s a good thing, because the numbers say that though Almonor might not be a future NBA star, he could fill a useful role for UK. He’s a well-polished NCAA shooter.

Almonor is heading into his senior season having played 32 games for Fairleigh Dickinson last year. He averaged 16.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists and made 39.4% of his 3-pointers. He was not shy on his shooting, either: In all, he took 7.4 3-point tries per game, and his 2.91 makes per game ranked 36th in the nation.