John Calipari is planning to adjust his roster-building formula as he takes over as Arkansas’ head coach.

Gone are the days of taking 7 freshmen in every high school recruiting class, the new Razorbacks coach said. Calipari spoke to reporters on Wednesday at the SEC’s annual spring meetings about his new approach in Fayetteville.

“The lesson was you can’t do this now with seven freshmen,” Calipari said, via ESPN’s Pete Thamel. “You just can’t. You’re going to hit a team that’s 25 years old on average, one was 26, and that team is physically going to get you, and so now we have a couple transfers that are older, some kids that transferred from Kentucky that went through it, and they’re a year older, and some freshmen.”

Calipari’s roster age estimations may be a bit exaggerated, but experience did seem to play a factor in Kentucky’s recent postseason losses. The Wildcats had high-profile NCAA Tournament losses to St. Peter’s and Oakland late in his Kentucky tenure — despite routinely bringing in the No. 1-ranked recruiting class.

At Arkansas, Calipari is planning to incorporate more transfers with just a select few freshmen from the high school ranks.

“We’re not going to take six, seven freshmen now,” Calipari added. “It’ll be three or four. Hopefully retain a few, get a couple transfers, and that is the formula.”

Calipari applying these lessons as he and his staff build out Arkansas’ 2024-25 roster. The Razorbacks currently have commitments from 3 high school prospects and 5 transfers (including 3 players who were on his final team at Kentucky). Arkansas has the No. 1-ranked transfer recruiting class in the country, per 247Sports rankings.

Calipari has also consistently said this offseason that he plans to only carry 9 traditional scholarship players this season and fill out the rest of the roster with walk-ons.

Arkansas is currently +3500 to win the national championship next season, according to the latest odds at FanDuel. FanDuel is also offering odds on Arkansas’ trip to Lexington next season — UK is a -152 favorite to win that game outright while the Razorbacks are +115.

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