Kentucky basketball had both a brilliant offseason and a terrible offseason, one marred by injuries to big men while in the process looking like a well-constructed team in winning a gold medal earlier this summer at the GLOBL JAM. John Calipari and his staff addressed the former to sustain momentum of the latter on Tuesday, landing a commitment from Croatian big man Zvonimir Ivisic to give UK a key piece of size and depth for its frontcourt in 2023-24.
“I got the offer for a scholarship by Coach Calipari to attend the University of Kentucky,” Ivisic announced on social media. “I’m excited to tell that I accepted the scholarship and will play there next season.”
He chose Kentucky over reported interest from Memphis.
Ivisic is a 7-foot-1, 220-pound center who profiles as a do-it-all big capable of playing both inside and out. On the FIBA circuit this summer in the U20s, he shot 74.1% from 2-point range and 34.4% from 3-point range on 32 total attempts across seven games. He also added 11.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
Kentucky was smacked with the injury bug to its frontcourt repeatedly this offseason with five-star freshman Aaron Bradshaw and second-year breakout candidate Ugonna Onyenso both sustaining lower body injuries that required surgery. Bradshaw’s injury forced UK to go out and add Tre Mitchell from West Virginia out of the portal, and Onyenso’s injury during the GLOBL JAM trip prompted UK to again add to its ranks with both he and Bradshaw out indefinitely.
Kentucky was the biggest riser in Gary Parrish’s most recent Top 25 (And 1) rankings of the offseason, jumping eight spots after landing Mitchell and sitting comfortably in the top 25 at No. 17. With Ivisic and Mitchell in tow to complement the hopeful returns of Bradshaw and Onyenso, UK should have enough size to buttress a guard-heavy roster led by five-star newcomers Justin Edwards and DJ Wagner, who figure to be key pieces for the Wildcats this season.