Former Kentucky high school star is new transfer option and on UK’s recruiting radar

Ben Roberts
·2 min read

A familiar name to fans of Kentucky high school basketball has hit the NCAA transfer portal, and UK is expected to be a player in his new recruitment.

CJ Fredrick — a 6-foot-3 guard from Cincinnati — placed his name in the portal Monday morning with the intention of transferring to another school, Iowa confirmed in a statement. Fredrick averaged 7.5 points per game and shot 47.4 percent from three-point range for Iowa this season, helping the Hawkeyes earn a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They were upset by Oregon in the round of 32 last month.

Fredrick was the 2018 Gatorade player of the year in Kentucky after leading Covington Catholic to a 35-4 record and the Sweet Sixteen title as a senior. He redshirted his first year at Iowa and then started immediately as a freshman the following season.

In two seasons with the Hawkeyes, he started all 52 of the games he played. Fredrick’s scoring numbers were actually better his freshman year, when he averaged 10.1 points per game. He’s made 83 of 178 three-point attempts in his college career so far, a 46.6 percent clip.

Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said after the NCAA Tournament loss that Fredrick, who had foot surgery last summer, had been playing through a plantar fasciitis injury for much of this past season.

“CJ is in pain,” McCaffery said. “He gutted through it for the better part of the games when he came back, and he was really good in some of them, but he hasn’t been himself half the season. I’m just so proud of that kid for how he fought through and how he helped our team, particularly on the defensive end. ... He just sacrificed and did what he had to do to help us win.”

UK did not recruit Fredrick out of high school — he was the No. 242 prospect nationally in the 2018 class — but the Wildcats had been mentioned as a possible transfer destination for the former in-state star before his name was even added to the NCAA transfer portal.

Kentucky is still searching for more backcourt help for the 2021-22 season, and Fredrick would be able to bring elite-level experience and outside shooting ability to the team.

As of now, UK has signed four-star point guard recruit Nolan Hickman, brought in veteran shooting guard transfer Kellan Grady, and freshman guard Dontaie Allen has indicated he will be back in Lexington next season. It’s possible that graduate transfer guard Davion Mintz could return for a final year of college basketball, though he has not yet announced a decision and UK would likely want to add at least one more guard, even if he returns.

Star high school point guard TyTy Washington and Minnesota point guard transfer Marcus Carr are among the other names on Kentucky’s recruiting list.