The Kentucky Wildcats were missing another scholarship player for Friday night’s home game against North Florida.
Keion Brooks didn’t participate in the final session of warm-ups before the game at Rupp Arena, and UK announced just before tipoff that he would be unavailable for the contest due to an illness. Freshman forward Daimion Collins made his first career college start in his absence, and the Cats won the game 86-52.
Brooks joined Davion Mintz, Jacob Toppin and Lance Ware as the latest Wildcat to be sidelined this season. Mintz was also unavailable for Friday night’s game, though Toppin and Ware did play after missing the past few games with injuries. It was the second consecutive missed game for Mintz, who led the Cats in scoring last season and was also sidelined Monday night against Albany due to illness.
John Calipari didn’t elaborate on the nature of the illnesses after the game Friday night, but he said three team managers and his son, graduate assistant Brad Calipari, were also sick.
“I wish I could make them take flu shots,” Calipari said. “But I can’t.”
The UK coach said before the season started that all of Kentucky’s players and staff members had received COVID-19 vaccines.
Brooks had averaged 19.5 points and 8.0 rebounds over the past two games.
Toppin was the first Kentucky player off the bench Friday night, entering the game for Collins at the 16:32 mark of the first half. Toppin, who was out with a shoulder injury, hadn’t played since the Duke game in the season opener. Ware, who had been sidelined with an ankle injury, also entered the game early in the first half Friday night. He played just one minute against Robert Morris in the Cats’ second game of the season and had been out since then.
Kentucky is also without transfer guard CJ Fredrick, who is likely to miss the entire season with a hamstring injury.
The Wildcats’ next game will be Monday night against Central Michigan, and then UK will be off for more than a week before returning to the court Dec. 7 against Southern University.