A reputation for hard work and the Holy Spirit landed Kentucky a commitment from Dakotah Euton, a promising high school sophomore-to-be on Monday.
Euton, a 6-foot-8 forward for Rose Hill in Ashland, committed to UK after a two-hour meeting with Coach Billy Gillispie on Monday morning.
The commitment came as Euton and his parents stopped in Lexington while returning home from his participation in an elite camp at Florida last weekend.
In explaining why he quickly said yes to a scholarship offer from Gillispie, Euton noted how much he liked the UK coaching staff.
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“Coach Gillispie told me no coach will outwork him,” Euton said. “I really liked that.”
Euton also noted UK’s tradition and the power of prayer.
“I really prayed about it,” Euton said. “I think this is where God wants me. I said, ‘God, let the Holy Spirit speak to my heart.’”
Euton said he sensed a spiritual epiphany as he showered Monday morning in preparation for meeting with the UK coaches.
“I asked God, ‘When we meet, please don’t let me be nervous,’” Euton said. “He gave me a sense of calmness. He gave me joy.”
Euton joined G.J. Vilarino, a high school junior-to-be from McKinney, Texas, as underclassmen who have committed to Kentucky since Gillispie became coach in April.
Gillispie also signed two celebrated high school seniors, McDonald’s All-American Patrick Patterson and Parade All-American Alex Legion.
This spring, Euton’s father noted the difference Gillispie had made.
Until the change of coaches, Clay Euton said, his son favored Florida. Dakotah Euton described his rooting for Florida as “When I was a kid, I liked whoever the best teams were. I was sort of a bandwagon. I really, really liked Kentucky, too.”
During his weekend at the Florida elite camp, Euton said he worked out with Coach Billy Donovan. The Gators offered a scholarship, which Euton described as “tempting.”
Euton acknowledged that the early commitment means he’ll have to wait three years before joining the UK team.
A lot can happen in three years. After all, in 2005 UK advanced to the region final and came within a rebound of reaching the Final Four. Then-Coach Tubby Smith was celebrated as one of the nation’s top coaches.
“It’s a risk I’m willing to take,” said Euton, who turned 16 on March 10. Gillispie “told me he wasn’t going to back out on me, and I wouldn’t back out on him.”