Four-star basketball recruit John Petty — the first player from the class of 2017 to earn a scholarship offer from John Calipari — announced his commitment to Alabama on Thursday night.
Kentucky was the only other finalist in Petty’s recruitment, which was always going to come down to the local school (Bama) or the team he grew up rooting for (UK).
Petty — a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Huntsville, Ala. — revealed his college choice at halftime of his high school’s home opener, and the decision was not a major surprise.
Alabama has long made Petty — the state’s reigning Mr. Basketball — its No. 1 recruiting priority for the class of 2017, and Coach Avery Johnson hosted the local star for an official visit in August. Earlier Thursday, the Crimson Tide landed a commitment from five-star point guard Collin Sexton, the No. 9-ranked player in the 2017 class.
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Calipari also made Petty a major priority, visiting him in Huntsville several times over the past year and watching his games on the Nike circuit. Petty had planned an official visit to UK in late October, but he ultimately called off that trip and did not reschedule.
Scout.com ranks him as the No. 44 overall player in the 2017 class.
Kentucky is still in the mix for several players at his position.
Shai Alexander — the No. 46 recruit in the Scout rankings — is a 6-4 combo guard from Hamilton, Ont., and he will announce his college decision Monday. UK is the favorite for Alexander.
Lonnie Walker — a 6-4 shooting guard from Reading, Pa. — could announce a college decision during the early period, which ends Wednesday. Walker visited UK last weekend, and Scout.com’s Evan Daniels told the Herald-Leader this week that he considered Kentucky and Arizona to be the two favorites in his recruitment. Scout ranks Walker as the No. 23 player in the class.
UK is also recruiting Hamidou Diallo, a 6-5 shooting guard from Queens, N.Y., ranked by Scout.com as the No. 10 overall prospect in the 2017 class and the best player at his position. Diallo recently narrowed his list to UK, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Syracuse and UConn. A post-grad player, Diallo would also have the option of entering the 2017 NBA Draft. If he goes the college route, UK and UConn have been the schools most talked about as possible favorites, though Diallo has not said much about his recruitment.
Diallo is not expected to make a decision regarding his basketball future until the spring.
UK is also recruiting five-star point guards Quade Green, who announces his decision Nov. 19, and Trae Young, who is likely to reveal a college choice this winter.
The Cats landed commitments from five-star frontcourt players Nick Richards and PJ Washington earlier in the day Thursday.