Pope adds veteran guards from San Diego State, Oklahoma

Published 3:10 pm Thursday, May 2, 2024

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Kentucky coach Mark Pope’s first roster is starting to come together with the addition of two more guards from the transfer portal on Saturday.

Former San Diego State star Lamont Butler and former Oklahoma guard Otega Oweh are on board as Wildcats. That puts UK’s roster at five including incoming freshmen Travis Perry (Kentucky Mr. Basketball), Collin Chandler (BYU transfer) and Amari Williams (Drexel transfer), a 6-foot-10 center and the only non-guard so far. 

Butler helped the Aztecs reach the NCAA championship game after sinking the game-winning shot in a 72-71 triumph over Florida Atlantic in the 2023 NCAA Tournament national semifinals. San Diego State lost to Connecticut in the championship game. He also was a member of the 2023 NCAA All-Tournament Team and a member of the All-South Regional Team.

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“Lamont Butler is the definition of a winner,” Pope said. “He might be the best perimeter defensive player in all of college basketball. Lamont has helped lead championship teams for the last four years and hit one of the most epic shots in the NCAA Tournament to send his team to the championship game.”

Butler, a guard, is two-time Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year and averaged 7.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game during his four-year career at San Diego State. He will be a graduate transfer with one year of eligibility remaining.

“He is an elite student who takes his academics seriously,” Pope said. “He cares about the community and will embrace the power of wearing ‘Kentucky’ across the front of his chest. I’m extremely excited to coach Lamont and to see the influence he’s going to have on this team.”

Butler scored 1,008 career points and collected 305 rebounds at San Diego State. He also had 338 assists and 183 steals. The 6-foot-2 guard recorded 43 double-figure scoring efforts, dished out five or more assists 17 times and logged 22 games with at least three steals.

Oweh (pronounced oh-TEG-uh OH-way) averaged 11.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game as a sophomore at Oklahoma, seeing action in 60 games and made 37 starts over a two-year career with the Sooners. He will have two years of eligibility with the Wildcats.

“Otega shot 37 percent from the 3-point line last year,” Pope said. “He’s elite at earning trips to the free-throw line and he brings a special physicality and intensity to the game. Otega spent his entire season last year picking up the point guard full court in the Big 12. His tenacity on the court is contagious and his humility off the court is going to endear himself to Big Blue Nation.”

During Oweh’s sophomore season, he averaged 11.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.0 assists per outing. He connected on 49.3% of his field-goal attempts and 37.7% from 3-point range. Oweh registered double-digit scoring efforts on 19 occasions, including a career-high 23 points on 6-of-10 shooting and 10 for 11 from the free-throw line against North Carolina.

Additionally, he had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds against West Virginia. Oweh added defensive savviness to the Sooners’ lineup with 12 games of multiple steals, including a seven-swipe effort against Green Bay. He notched seven games with five or more rebounds from the guard position.

Oweh was the second-leading scorer for a team that went 20-12 overall and 8-10 in Big 12 action.

As a freshman, Oweh made nine starts in 28 appearances. He logged averages of 4.8 points, 2.1 boards and 0.2 assists per game and had four double-figure scoring efforts.

In all, the 6-foot-4 guard has scored 498 points, hauled in 179 rebounds and tallied 80 steals. He’s connected on 49.8% of his 2-point attempts and 36.8% from 3-point range. He was 20 of 53 (37.7%) from long distance in 2023-24. He ranked among the top 20 in steals in the Big 12 Conference during both seasons with the Sooners.

A native of Newark, New Jersey, Oweh has three siblings, including an older brother, Odafe, who plays linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens.