UK Recruiting

Top-25 recruit Wiltjer commits to UK

Kyle Wiltjer, a 6-9 senior power forward in Portland, Ore., led his Jesuit High School team to Class 6A state championships in 2009 and 2010.
Kyle Wiltjer, a 6-9 senior power forward in Portland, Ore., led his Jesuit High School team to Class 6A state championships in 2009 and 2010. LC-

It's almost time for Kentucky Coach John Calipari to move on to the class of 2012.

After securing the nation's No. 1 basketball recruiting classes for 2009 and 2010, Kentucky on Saturday put a cherry on top of what has to be considered the top-rated class of 2011.

Kyle Wiltjer, a 6-foot-9 senior power forward from Portland, Ore., announced that he will play for the Wildcats.

Wiltjer is rated the No. 21 overall prospect in the class of 2011 by recruiting service and No. 25 by ESPN places him at No. 32.

Wiltjer joins a loaded 2011 UK recruiting class that has previously received commitments from three top-10 rated prospects: 6-10 forward Anthony Davis of Chicago; 6-6 forward Michael Gilchrist of Somerdale, N.J.; and 6-2 point guard Marquis Teague of Indianapolis.

Wiltjer, who is known for his high skill level and basketball IQ, made his announcement during the Boost Mobile Elite 24 game in Venice, Calif., on Saturday night. Wiltjer made the announcement live on ESPNU at halftime.

"This is a very great recruiting class coming in (at Kentucky)," Wiltjer told the crowd. "I thought I would be a great fit."

Wiltjer chose Kentucky from a final list of seven schools that included California, Georgia Tech, Gonzaga, Kansas, Texas and Wake Forest.

Wiltjer helped lead his Jesuit High School team to Oregon Class 6A championships in 2009 and 2010.

He gained attention this summer playing in the Nike Beach Jam in South Carolina, the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio, and, earlier this month, the Nike Global Challenge in Hillsboro, Ore., where he led Team Canada to a third-place finish and made the all-tournament team.

Wiltjer has citizenship in both Canada and the United States because his father, Greg, was born in Canada.

Greg Wiltjer, a 6-11 center, played for Oregon State in the 1980s and was a member of Team Canada in the 1984 Summer Olympics. He taught his son the low-post fundamentals, including a hook shot, that have made Wiltjer an attractive recruit.

"Since the fifth grade," Wiltjer said during the King City Classic in Cleveland this summer. "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, who is not necessarily finished growing at 6-9, has said he models his versatile offensive game after that of NBA star Hedo Turkoglu, a 6-10 swingman for the Phoenix Suns who presents matchup problems with his ability to score outside or around the basket.

This summer in Cleveland, Wiltjer cited three factors that made Kentucky an attractive choice: "It's a winning program. They have a great coach. They know how to get players into the NBA."

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