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Kentucky big man Zvonimir Ivišić enters transfer portal

Samuel Colmar
Kentucky forward Zvonimir Ivišić (44) drives to the basket during the No. 3 Kentucky vs. No. 14 Oakland mens basketball game in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday, March 21, 2024, at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Kentucky lost 80-76. Photo by Samuel Colmar | Staff

Despite initial hopes that the Croatian sensation Zvonimir “Big Z” Ivišić may be planning to return for a second season at Kentucky, following the departure of head coach John Calipari the big man instead opted to enter the transfer portal.

Ivišić was limited in his one season with Kentucky, being ineligible to play until conference play due to the NCAA refusing to clear him after he joined the team late. That, as well as a constant stream of illnesses, kept Big Z from truly reaching his full potential, leading the Balkan big to seek an extra year of college.

Kentucky forward Zvonimir Ivisic smiles on the bench during the Kentucky vs. Georgia men’s basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 105-96. Photo by Abbey Cutrer | Staff (Abbey Cutrer)

In his one season Ivišić averaged 5.5 points and 3.3 rebounds per game, though it could be argued he peaked in his first ever collegiate game against Georgia.

Scoring 13 points, Ivišić dazzled with big blocks — three to be exact — and a behind-the-back assist to Antonio Reeves that sent Rupp Arena into a frenzy. If all that wasn’t enough, the big man went 3-4 from beyond the arch, hitting three straight 3-pointers.

His highest point-scoring game would come on February 24 when he dropped 18 in a blowout win over No. 13 Alabama, which would go on to reach the Final Four.

Interestingly, all four times Ivišić scored in double figures the Wildcats cracked 100+ points, dropping 105 over the Bulldogs, 109 over Vanderbilt (Ivišić had 11), 117 against Bama and 111 against Arkansas (12 for Big Z).

“Z” entered a long line of Cats to enter the portal or declare for the draft after the departure of Calipari, but was the first to do so after the hiring of Mark Pope.

Pope will have his work cut out for him in building a roster, seemingly starting from scratch in Lexington.

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About the Contributors
Cole Parke, Sports Editor
Abbey Cutrer, Editor-in-Chief
Samuel Colmar, Assistant Photo Editor

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