Trevon Brazile is returning to Arkansas

Trevon Brazile is returning to Arkansas

Arkansas will end up with one returning player in John Calipari’s first season as head coach of the Razorbacks. After declaring for the 2024 NBA Draft and entering the transfer portal in April, Trevon Brazile withdrew from the draft last week.

Then on Tuesday, the school announced that Brazile is coming back to Arkansas.

After starting his collegiate career at Missouri in 2021-22, Brazile has spent the last two seasons with the Razorbacks playing for former HC Eric Musselman. For the Tigers two years ago, he started 23 of 25 games and averaged 6.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots per game.

After transferring to Arkansas, Brazile helped the Hogs to an 8-1 record coming off the bench in their first nine games. In a 78-74 overtime win over eventual 2023 NCAA Tournament runner-up, San Diego St., in the third-place game at the Maui Invitational, Brazile produced 20 points, nine rebounds and two steals.

Eleven days later in a 99-58 home win over San Jose St., Brazile had 23 points, five rebounds, two assists, two blocks and one steal, making 8-of-9 field-goal attempts. However, on Dec. 6, he sustained a torn ACL that ended his season in a 65-58 home win over UNC Greensboro.

Therefore, he finished the year averaging 11.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.0 steals per game.

In 2023-24, Brazile started 23 of 26 games in a disappointing campaign for the Razorbacks. He averaged 8.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.2 BPG, making 48.8 percent of his FGAs, 35.3 percent of his 3-pointers and 69.5 percent of his free throws.

Brazile gives Calipari nine scholarship players. Although he has four scholarships remaining, Calipari might be done assembling his 2024-25 roster.

In recent weeks while doing his tour around the state to various booster clubs, Cal had floated the idea of possibly going with only eight players on scholarship.

His reasoning was that he usually went with an eight-man rotation anyway. Furthermore, he explained that all eight players would be happy with their playing time and likely get enough shots, creating great chemistry.

In explaining how bodies wouldn’t be a problem for practice, he disclosed that he had several former Kentucky players lined up to be grad assistants, and those guys could practice with the team. Cal also said he’d find an excellent group of walk-ons that would practice hard and simply love being on the team.

Eight, though? With foul trouble and injuries that inevitably come about through the course of the season, I felt like that was a recipe for potential disaster.

Nine? That might work.

If Calipari is indeed done, the other eight roster spots belong to Boogie Fland, Karter Knox, Billy Richmond, Zvonimir Ivisic, Jonas Aidoo, Johnell Davis, Adou Thiero and D.J. Wagner.

Fland, Knox and Richmond are incoming freshmen with four-star labels. According to the 247Sports Composite, Fland is the nation’s #20 overall prospect, the #2 combo guard and the #3 player out of the state of New York.

Knox, a 6-foot-6 small forward, is the country’s #23 overall prospect and the #2 player out of the state of Georgia. Richmond, a 6-foot-5 small forward out of Camden, New Jersey, is ranked as the nation’s #25 overall prospect.

The 247Sports Composite ranks Calipari’s recruiting class #3 nationally overall. The five imports, however, compose the nation’s #1 transfer-specific group.

Wagner signed last week after an up-and-down freshman campaign at Kentucky. He is the grandson of Milt Wagner, who led Louisville to the 1986 national title and was an assistant on Kenny Payne’s staff at U of L last season.

Wagner was in a backcourt rotation at UK last year that included the SEC’s third-leading scorer (Antonio Reeves), Reed Sheppard and Rob Dillingham. Sheppard and Dillingham are projected as lottery picks in the 2024 NBA Draft later this month, while Reeves is forecasted as a mid-second-round selection in most mock drafts.

Wagner started 28 of 29 games for the Wildcats, logging 25.8 minutes per contest. He averaged 9.9 points, 3.3 assists, 1.9 rebounds and 0.8 steals per game. Although he struggled with his shooting, making only 40.5 percent of his FGAs and 29.2 percent of his treys, Wagner proved to be one of the SEC’s premier perimeter defenders.

We’ve already discussed the additions of Davis and Aidoo, who were brought in from Florida Atlantic and Tennessee, respectively. We also profiled Ivisic (AKA ‘Big Z’) after he became Cal’s first commitment back in mid-April.

The fifth transfer is Adou Thiero, a 6-foot-7 forward who averaged 7.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.1 blocked shots per game as a sophomore at Kentucky in 2023-24.

There’s certainly no shortage of talent in Fayetteville, and that’s not going to change as long as Cal is in town. Looking at the latest 2025 mock at nbadraft.net, it has Fland and Knox as first-round selections at #9 and #23, respectively.

Wagner is listed as the #41 overall pick in the second round, with ‘Big Z’ going #45 and Brazile coming off the board at #54.

However, the latest 2025 mock at NBADraftroom has ‘Big Z’ going #16 in the first round. Fland is listed at #19, followed by Knox (#21), Thiero (#30), Wagner (#37) and Brazile (#38).

FanDuel has Arkansas with 35/1 odds to win the 2025 NCAA Tournament. Those are tied for the 12th-shortest odds on the board along with Creighton and Kentucky. FanDuel has UConn and Kansas as the 10/1 co-favorites.

The Razorbacks have 25/1 odds at DraftKings, which are tied for the ninth-shortest odds on the board with Arizona. DraftKings has UConn as the 9/1 ‘chalk,’ followed by KU (10/1), Alabama (11/1) and Duke (12/1).