UK Recruiting

UK recruiting notes: Big-man prospect hooking up lots of interest

CLEVELAND — Kentucky Coach John Calipari called the parents of big-man prospect Kyle Wiltjer last week to express recruiting interest in their son. Wiltjer, a 6-foot-9 player from Portland, Ore., saw UK as the kind of program that needs time to determine its recruiting priorities.

"He called to say they've followed my progress," the younger Wiltjer said of Calipari's call. "They have a lot of one-and-dones. They have to wait (to express interest)."

Wiltjer, one of the players in the King City Classic camp in Cleveland, said his father was his basketball mentor. His father, Greg Wiltjer, who played for Oregon State, helped develop his game.

"Since the fifth grade," he said. "He had me do what he called the George Mikan drill: Left- and right-handed hooks. I was thinking, 'Why am I doing this?' But it paid off.

"He loves the old-fashioned hook shot. No one is really ready for it. No one can really block it, so I'm picking up on it."

Wiltjer, a high school senior in 2010-11, added UK to a long list of schools that includes Gonzaga, Kansas, California, Stanford, Arizona, Arizona State, Texas and Wake Forest.

"It's a winning program," he said of UK. "They have a great coach. They know how to get players in the NBA."

But Wiltjer said he remained open to other schools joining the recruiting race.

"If any school wants to come in, they're welcome," Wiltjer said.

Recruiting veteran

Perry Ellis, a 6-8 forward from Wichita Heights, Kan., counts Kentucky among his long list of suitors. He's been hearing from colleges since the eighth grade.

"Back then, I thought, 'What's going on?' " Ellis said after his second game Thursday at the King City Classic. "I didn't know. That's a lot of pressure. Everybody wanting autographs. Now I understand that's how it is."

Ellis said he received his first college scholarship offer as a ninth-grader: from Kansas. He decided to wait and see how the process unfolded.

Now he hears from Kansas, Kansas State, Memphis, Oklahoma, Wake Forest, Stanford and North Carolina as well as UK.

Players missing

Four of the top players in the high school class of 2011 were missing in action.

UK-bound Michael Gilchrist and Marquis Teague are playing for a USA Under-17 team in Germany. Guard Austin Rivers has been in Texas with a USA U-18 team. All are top-25 national prospects.

Another player not here was Quincy Miller, who played in the Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis.

Cal in Germany

While assistant Kenny Payne watched the action in Indianapolis and Cleveland this week, Calipari was in Germany where UK commitments Gilchrist and Teague are competing for USA Basketball.

Calipari tweeted Thursday about being in Berlin.

"Nike is HUGE in Berlin!," he tweeted. "I'll have to see if they have the Refuse to Lose shirts!!!"

Earlier in the day, Calipari took a more historical look at the trip.

"From JFK's visit in the '60s (we are all Berliners today) to Ronald Reagan's in the '80s (Tear down that wall), I feel the impact of living in the country we do & having the freedoms we possess," he tweeted. "Powerful stuff when u start 2 think about world history & our place in it."

LeBron standard time

Nike officials planned to adjust the schedule at the King City Classic to accommodate LeBron James' announcement about his basketball future.

Games were originally scheduled to be played at 7 and 8:30 p.m. Thursday. Officials moved the later games up 30 minutes in hopes of finishing in time to rush to televisions to watch James' 9 p.m. announcement.

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