Kyle Wiltjer, a 2011 6' 9'' 225# forward from Portland, Oregon ranked #25 on Rivals and 21 on Scout, verbally committed to Kentucky last night.
Wiltjer had UK on his list, but there was relatively little buzz around the Big Blue Nation about him until this weekend. Wiltjer is the kind of player any school would want -- a big, smart team player who can shoot. There is speculation that Wiltjer has not finished growing yet, to boot.
The Wiltjer situation was all the Twitter rage yesterday, but he has long been considered a likely player for Gonzaga and Mark Few. Needless to say, the Gonzaga faithful at SB Nation's excellent Gonzaga blog, The Slipper Still Fits, are very much less than pleased.
I notice a few members of A Sea of Blue over at TSSF defending Calipari's honor, and as one of the leading Calipari defenders on the Internet, I can hardly be surprised. What is surprising is how many west coast players are suddenly bound for Kentucky. Over the last ten years or so before Calipari came, we have gotten a few west coast guys, notably Tayshaun Prince, Chuck Hayes and Michael Porter, but the 2010-11 classes are simply stiff with players plucked from the hands of Great Northwest schools. That's just unexpected, at least to me.
Needless to say, Fans of schools in the states of Washington and Oregon have been dismayed at the sudden movement of their talent to Lexington. With Tony Wroten still out there uncommitted, there is at least a technical possibility of yet another highly-ranked Great Northwest recruit playing for the Blue and White. That would be a staggeringly successful invasion of an under-appreciated and talent-rich region of America.
I suspect, but do no know, that the Wiltjer commitment had something to do with the recent offer Coach Cal made to Chane Behanan, another highly ranked player out of Kentucky. Of course, that could merely be a coincidence. But the message now seems to be that if you want on the Kentucky train, space is limited.
Let's see what we currently have lined up for 2011 so far:
|Committed but unsigned|
|1||Anthony Davis||PF||Chicago, ILPerspectives Charter||6'10"||220||6|
|2||Mike Gilchrist||SF||Elizabeth, NJSt. Patrick||6'6"||190||3|
|3||Marquis Teague||PG||Indianapolis, INPike||6'2"||170||2|
|4||Kyle Wiltjer||PF||Portland, ORJesuit||6'9"||225||25|
Not bad at all, if you ask me. Adding Behenan to this list would make the class by far the best in 2011, and arguably the best recruiting class, rankings-wise, in Kentucky history. For that matter, we may well already be there if these rankings continue to hold.
Here is some reaction to the Wiltjer commitment:
- Cal lands another 2011 top prospect
- Kyle Wiltjer Picks Kentucky - SB Nation Seattle
- Kyle Wiltjer says Kentucky basketball will be 'a great fit' | courier-journal.com | The Courier-Journal
- Kyle Wiltjer Story Stream -- SB Nation
- No. 19 recruit Kyle Wiltjer commits to Kentucky at Elite 24 All-Star game - CBK News - FOX Sports on MSN
- Is Portland's Kyle Wiltjer The Most Skilled Power Forward In The Class Of 2011? - SB Nation Seattle
- Wiltjer’s commitment locks up another No. 1 class for Calipari | Vaught's Views
- UK Recruiting is Like "Nuclear Bombs Compared to Rifles"
- Wiltjer joins Cats' 5-star parade
- Frustrated Sparty Reacts
- Kentucky scores another star 2011 prospect - Beyond the Arc - NBC Sports
Wiltjer to Kentucky - GU Board Forums -- Gonzaga Fans react.
Mostly sane comments here.
- Kyle Wiltjer Will Attend Kentucky !!! | Flagrant Fouls
- UK adds fourth top 20 prospect - CBSSports.com
- Kentucky Lands Wijiter " Coast 2 Coast Recruiting
- Kyle Wiltjer to Kentucky | ZagsBlog.com
- Kentucky Sports Radio " Blog Archive " Wiltjer picks the Cats
- Kansas fans react with accusations of payoffs
- Ballin' is a Habit: Kyle Wiltjer commits to Kentucky