Kahlil Whitney, a five-star prospect and 14th-ranked player in the 2019 ESPN 100, has verbally committed to Kentucky.
Whitney chose Kentucky over Illinois, Oregon and Georgetown.
Here’s what be brings to the Wildcats:
Whitney is a big, high-level, scoring wing. He can nail the 3-point shot with regularity but does not live on the arc. His pull-up jumper might be the strongest aspect of his scoring repertoire.
Where Whitney can make an immediate impact is in the transition game. He is explosive and quick to the rim when it comes to finishing plays on the fast break. He becomes a mismatch when he sits in the mid- or pinch-post and reverse pivots with a live dribble to create space to score on an isolation.
His body is strong and well-defined to take body bumps and still score. His length and strength make him an active rebounder and make him comfortable guarding on the perimeter. He must improve his free-throw percentage and develop his playmaking ability.
How he fits: The one thing we know about Kentucky is there will be departures to the NBA and an influx of talent coming in. It’s too early to speculate what the Wildcats’ roster will look like next season.
Whitney will come in and play as a scoring guard and small forward. More than likely, Whitney will be sliding into Keldon Johnson’s spot as he and Tyrese Maxey will join whoever is left from this year’s roster.
Who he reminds us of: He shows some similarities in terms of body type to former UK guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. His positional size and length as a shooter and scorer is attractive.
Two other NBA players come to mind: Whitney is similar to Andrew Wiggins with his ability to shoot over defenders, post up and read screens to cut to open areas and power drive. However, Whitney is less athletic.
The other comparison is Stanley Johnson. Whitney is not as strong at the same stage of his development, but has a similar frame. But Whitney’s scoring game is more effective as he can create space and more scoring opportunities for himself at this stage.
How the class is shaping up: During John Calipari’s tenure the Kentucky, the Wildcats have had either the No. 1 or No. 2 recruiting class. So far, they have two five-star prospects for 2019.
Their perimeter scoring and ball-handing needs have been addressed in the backcourt. The frontcourt will have one expected departure in Reid Travis, while PJ Washington and Nick Richards are possible early entries into the NBA draft. Kentucky is deeply involved with ESPN 100 No. 1 James Wiseman, No. 2 Vernon Carey Jr., No. 6 Matthew Hurt, and No. 26 Keion Brooks.