UK Recruiting

Calipari says new UK signee is ‘in the same mold of some of the best players we’ve had’

Kahlil Whitney is proud to be a McDonald’s All-American

UK basketball commitment Kahlil Whitney has made it to this week's McDonald's All-American Game, and he's looking forward to showing Kentucky fans what he can do on the court.
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UK basketball commitment Kahlil Whitney has made it to this week's McDonald's All-American Game, and he's looking forward to showing Kentucky fans what he can do on the court.

Nine months after announcing his commitment to the University of Kentucky, five-star basketball recruit Kahlil Whitney made the pledge official Friday afternoon.

Whitney — a 6-foot-7 wing player — signed with UK during a ceremony at his old grammar school in his hometown of Chicago. It was a plan months in the making, and something Whitney has been looking forward to ever since the arrangements began.

Though he wrapped up his high school career in New Jersey, the 18-year-old basketball star wanted to return home to give a message of hope to the kids from his old neighborhood, where gun violence has become a common occurrence.

“I’m doing it for the kids,” Whitney told the Herald-Leader a few weeks ago. “The kids where I’m from — a lot of kids don’t have that hope. I got an opportunity and I grasped it, so I want those kids to know that anything can happen, and you can make it from where I’m from.”

Whitney is the No. 8 overall prospect in the 247Sports composite rankings for the class of 2019, and he’s expected to be one of the Wildcats’ top players as a freshman next season. He played in the McDonald’s All-American Game earlier this spring and recently earned MVP honors in the Iverson Classic all-star event.

College coaches are not permitted to comment on unsigned recruits — even if they’re committed to a school — so Friday was the first day that John Calipari could say anything publicly about Whitney.

“Kahlil is long and athletic,” Calipari said in a statement. “He’s in the same mold of some of the best players we’ve had here in that he has the athleticism to impact the game offensively, yet I believe he can be a difference maker defensively. He’s an elite finisher at the rim with the ability to put the ball on the floor and drive it. Kahlil, who is originally from Chicago, has watched this program since Anthony Davis won a title with us and has wanted to be a part of this program for a while. I believe he’s only scratched the surface of how good he can be and I can’t wait to get to work with him.”

Whitney averaged 19.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game as a senior.

Kentucky’s signing class also includes point guard Tyrese Maxey, wing players Keion Brooks and Dontaie Allen, graduate transfer power forward Nate Sestina, and walk-on Brennan Canada, a 6-7 standout at nearby Clark County.

UK is also still recruiting five-star talents RJ Hampton, Johnny Juzang and Jaden McDaniels from the 2019 class, and the Cats are expected to land at least one more player for next season in the coming weeks.

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