Kyle Wiltjer Transfer: Kentucky Big Man Visits Gonzaga

Hayden DeitrickFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2013

LEXINGTON, KY - DECEMBER 15: Kyle Wiltjer #33 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates with teammates after hitting a three-point basket against the Lipscomb Bisons during the game at Rupp Arena on December 15, 2012 in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 88-50. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Kyle Wiltjer has just completed a two-day visit of the Gonzaga University campus, according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN and the Slipper Still Fits.

Wiltjer announced his intention to seek a transfer away from the Kentucky Wildcats on June 24th, and Gonzaga instantly became a favorite to bring him into its program. 

ESPN’s Andy Katz has confirmed that Gonzaga is one of the teams that would be interested in helping Wiltjer achieve his goals for his two remaining seasons of eligibility after he sits out for a season.

Born in Canada and raised in Portland, Wiltjer would be close to both if he were to reside in Spokane. 

Gonzaga is, of course, renowned for their ability to recruit some of Canada’s top talents.  The most obvious examples are NBA Draft lottery hopeful Kelly Olynyk, who made All-American honors last season, and current point guard Kevin Pangos, who just participated in the Point Guard Skills Academy with some of the top guards in the nation.

In Coach Calipari’s open letter responding to Wiltjer’s transfer wish, he cited the big man’s participation on team Canada this summer as one of the driving factors for his leaving.

“After playing with Canada, Kyle feels like he could have a more prominent role in another program than he might have with us next season,” said Calipari.

Gonzaga could certainly offer this to Wiltjer, and head coach Mark Few would likely look to build around the versatile big man.

Kevin Pangos, who played on that Canadian development team, had this to say to Josh Newman of Zagsblog about the potential opportunity of playing with Wiltjer:

I told him obviously I would love to have him at Gonzaga if he chose to leave Kentucky, but I’m not gonna pressure him too much. He’s my friend and whatever decision he makes, he has to live with. I hope he comes back and to play with him, but we’ll see.

After having lost out on two key transfers this offseason in Josh Davis of Tulane and Mike Moser of UNLV, the Zags would welcome the opportunity to land a player like Wiltjer, who certainly has the ability to replace either of those players.

It had previously been reported by Greg Crawford of CSN NW that “Kyle WIltjer could become a Gonzaga Bulldog real soon” and went on to say, “Wiltjer still could choose another school besides Gonzaga, but two different sources told Crawford's Court tonight that they would be really surprised if that happened.”

Having already visited Gonzaga’s campus, it is clear that this transfer is a possibility and could indeed happen really quickly.

Wiltjer will return to Team Canada now after his visit to Gonzaga, and one would have to think that this is a great sign for Gonzaga’s chances to bring in this truly special basketball player.