Senior power forward Nate Sestina announced Thursday he's making a graduate transfer from the Bucknell Bison to the Kentucky Wildcats for the 2019-20 college basketball season.
Sestina confirmed his decision in a Twitter post:
Nate Sestina @NateSestina23
It’s been an amazing ride from Emporium to Bucknell and everywhere in between, and it’s surreal to think my college basketball career isn’t over yet. I’m humbled to get started with @KentuckyMBB! Need to thank God, my family, my coaches, teammates and @UKCoachCalipari #BBN https://t.co/JS3ZKqIS4e
The 6'9'', 245-pound forward averaged 15.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.1 blocks across 31 appearances in his first year as a starter for the Bison this season. He shot 53.6 percent from the field, including 38 percent from three-point range for the Patriot League runners-up.
Last month, he told Kurt Ritzman of the Daily Item he wanted an opportunity to play another season of college basketball with a potential March Madness contender, but still wanted a guaranteed place in the rotation.
"I felt I needed to improve some things," Sestina said. "The opportunity to play college basketball for another year, make a run to the NCAA tournament, and hopefully win some games, was very, very appealing. I want to find a place to grow and develop, but a place where I can be me and play my game—not a place where I'll sit the bench."
Joining the Wildcats should satisfy both parts of his desired landing spot.
Kentucky has qualified for the NCAA tournament in eight of John Calipari's nine seasons as head coach, highlighted by winning a national title in 2012.
In addition, UK was looking for some frontcourt depth with leading scorer PJ Washington likely set to enter the 2019 NBA draft and Reid Travis, a grad transfer last year, finished with his collegiate eligibility.
The Cats' second-ranked recruiting class is loaded with talent, led by Kahlil Whitney and Tyrese Maxey, but features only guards and wing players.
That should give Sestina a chance to compete for a starting job next fall. At minimum, he'll be a key asset off the bench after a strong final year at Bucknell.