By Kevin McPherson
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Razorbacks on Friday began hosting a visit with Virginia Tech grad-transfer Kerry Blackshear, Jr. (6-10, ), rated the No. 1 grad-transfer prospect in the nation according to ESPN.com.
Arkansas assistant coach Corey Williams visited Blackshear approximately a month ago during the four-day NCAA national recruiting period (April 29-May 2), and since then the two have maintained contact as a lead-up to bringing the highly regarded big man to Fayetteville for a visit.
Blackshear — he removed his name from the NBA Draft pool just hours before the midnight deadline on Wednesday, May 29 — will have one season of immediate playing eligibility in 2019-20. He is reportedly also considering Florida (where he visited on Thursday), Kentucky, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Gonzaga, and the possibility of returning to Virginia Tech.
A starter in all 35 games as a fourth-year junior in ’18-19, Blackshear averaged 29.9 minutes, 14.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists while shooting 50.8% field goals (including 33.3% on 21-of-63 from 3) and 73.6% free throws for the Hokies, who finished 26-9 after losing to ACC foe Duke in the Sweet 16 of the 2019 NCAA tournament.
Following the season and the subsequent departure of Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams — he left the Hokies to become the new head coach at Texas A&M — Blackshear entered his name in both the NCAA transfer portal and the NBA Draft pool.
“After taking the time to weigh my options, I have decided to withdraw my name from the NBA Draft,” Blackshear said in his May 29 announcement that he’d be returning to college. “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.”
As a third-year sophomore in ’17-18, Blackshear started 32 of 33 games for Virginia Tech and averaged 25.2 minutes, 12.5 points, and 5.9 rebounds while shooting 55.8% from the field. He redshirted during the ’16-17 season, but as a true freshman in ’15-16 he played in all 35 games for the Hokies, starting five times and averaging 19.2 minutes, 6.2 points, and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 55.3% field goals.
Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman has already landed three grad-transfers since April 20 in Jeantal Cylla (6-7 forward from North Carolina-Wilmington), Isaiah Moss (6-5 wing from Iowa), and Jimmy Whitt, Jr. (6-3 combo guard from SMU), and should Blackshear come on board as the fourth it would double the amount of grad-transfers (two) that Musselman brought in during his four seasons as head coach at Nevada (2015-2019).
Additionally, Musselman and the Hogs recently added two traditional transfers in freshman Connor Vanover (7-3 stretch-5 from California-Berkeley) and sophomore JD Notae (6-2 combo guard from Jacksonville).