Chicago, IL has always been a place of high-quality basketball talent; just take a glance at Anthony Davis, Dwyane Wade and Isaiah Thomas.
However, the crime rate in the windy city is also as high as anywhere else in the United States. For University of Kentucky Basketball commit Kahlil Whitney, the signing of his letter of intent is something he plans to provide a positive message for younger children in the area.
Whitney told Forbes this week he plans on returning to his hometown where his grammar school, Gregory Academy, is located to sign his letter of intent to Kentucky. His planned date will be sometime in “late April.”
While the academy was certainly a place where he shined on the basketball courts, just outside the school grounds was a place where Whitney had to dodge bullets to survive.
“The situations me and my friends were in in grammar school, it’s not really safe around my grammar school coming out,” Whitney told Forbes. “A lot of crazy guys shooting, drive-by shootings, it’s pretty much you gotta be in the right place at the right time. I mean, you gotta know your surroundings and keep yourself around the right people,” he said.
Whitney added that he wants to be an inspiration for the children in the area, using his opportunity of division one basketball to show those children they don’t have to commit to the “streets.”
There’s been a little angst among Kentucky fans as a result of Whitney not signing in the fall. After all, it’s rare for committed players to not sign in the early period, even if it’s just financial aid paperwork.
When Whitney didn’t sign anything, there was some concern that something was up, but as you can see in this interview, Whitney had a very good reason for waiting until the spring.
But even he understands how this could cause some concern, something he’s now squashed.
“I’m ‘BBN’ all the way, baby,” Whitney told Forbes.
BBN has nothing to worry about https://t.co/wFBy9Sx5Sf— THE DRAGON (@KahlilWhitney) December 4, 2018
Another reason why Kentucky fans shouldn’t worry is the fact that Whitney is actively recruiting other players to join him. He even thinks he’s making an impact on five-star center Isaiah Stewart, who remains one of Kentucky’s last big man targets in 2019, even if it looks like they’re behind other schools.
”I’ve been talking to Isaiah Stewart a lot. He said he likes what I’ve been telling him, so I’m just going to wait out to see what he’s doing.”
At Kentucky, Whitney is expected to be the team’s top-recruit and will have one of the game’s biggest stages to extend his message. For head coach John Calipari, signing a wise, tough-minded player like Whitney was a great move in what should still be a special 2019 class.