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Kentucky Basketball: Kahlil Whitney recruiting update, roundtable and predictions

We break down the impact Kahlil Whitney would have on UK, plus the latest on his recruitment and what we think he’ll ultimately do.

LM Edits

Kahlil Whitney is another prospect that really burst onto Kentucky’s radar. The long and athletic wing received a Kentucky offer, seemingly out of nowhere, and then all of the momentum seemed to favor the Wildcats.

Of course, Whitney had nothing but positive things to say about Kentucky and John Calipari, and there was that instance a couple years ago where he said he wanted to play at Kentucky.

Whitney seemingly has a very high ceiling with his length, offensive skill set, and athleticism. He has the makeup of a wing that John Calipari would love.

Whitney begins his official visit to Lexington today, and Kentucky still has a lot of that momentum in his recruitment. He’s already tweeted that he’s in Lexington:

So, we wanted to gather up the staff here to talk about Whitney, what they expect of him in college, and ultimately, where does he attend school.

Adam Haste

August 3-5 will see Kahlil Whitney on campus for his visit to UK. The 6-7 small forward from Roselle (NJ)is the 14th-ranked recruit by ESPN and 247 Sports. Whitney has said that his recruiting process is almost over, and many believe that he will end up in the blue and white.

This comes after former Kentucky commit DJ Jeffries announced that he was reopening his recruitment. While the coaching staff would have loved to have Jeffries on the roster, they knew that they could go and get another guy to fill the SF role. If Cal and the staff can land Whitney, then they have done just that.

Whitney is a very high motor player who always goes as hard as he can. He is very long and athletic with an outstanding ability to get in the lane and finish at the rim either dunking on someone or finishing through the contact.

However, he can also go outside and knock down a jump shot to keep the defense honest. Kahlil Whitney is the type of player that Cal has done the best with during his time at UK.

Prediction: Kentucky

Jason Marcum

With DJ Jeffries off the board and Dontaie Allen on board with Tyrese Maxey, Kahlil Whitney is exactly the kind of forward this class needs right now. Where Allen is a wing that can play shooting guard, Whitney is a more physical wing that can also play power forward, and that versatility is something Calipari loves having.

Whitney has some shades of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in his game with how athletic, physical and hard-working he is. He’s the type of energy player that’s going to wreak havoc for opponents while also being able to step out and hit threes consistently.

It’s becoming clear that Calipari is making more of a concerted effort to recruit energy guys who play great defense and have a balanced offense. We saw that in the previous class with Keldon Johnson, Ashton Hagans and technically graduate transfer Reid Travis.

We’ve see it in this class with Maxey, and now, it looks like Whitney is up next.

And while Whitney is ranked in the 15-25 range of the recruiting rankings, he definitely looks like a kid that’s going to finish a lot higher in the final rankings. I think it’s a similar situation to Nassir Little in the 2018 class. He was in that same range in the summer of his senior season, then blew up and finished as a consensus top-five recruit.

I think Whitney could do the same in the 2019 class.

Prediction: Kentucky

Jamie Boggs

Kahlil Whitney is a fun player to watch. He gets up and down the court and plays in 5th gear all of the time. His shooting ability is somewhat underrated, as he can score in a variety of ways.

If Whitney ends up at Kentucky, the biggest problem John Calipari will have is getting three other guys on the court that can keep up with Whitney and Tyrese Maxey. This could be one of the faster teams Cal has had here, and it would be an absolute blast to watch.

While Big Blue Nation was upset at DJ Jeffries’ decommitment, Whitney is very much an upgrade on the wing. Whitney’s commitment would have shifted Jeffries’ role to coming off of the bench, and now Dontaie Allen is the perfect candidate to contribute in that way.

Prediction: Kentucky

Aaron Gershon

According to the 247 Sports Crystal Ball, the Wildcats have a 93% chance to land five-star forward Kahlil Whitney. With fellow forward DJ Jeffries decommitting, the need to land a small forward for the 2019 class becomes more critical.

The odds are in Kentucky’s favor, however, fans should be slightly concerned about the comments made by DJ Jefferies father who called the University “unprofessional” during Jefferies recruiting process.

One would have to think Whitney and his family will take this into account upon his decision. However, I don’t see these comments changing Whitney’s mind.

Odds are completely in Kentucky’s favor and John Calipari has an outstanding track record. One parent’s comments isn’t going to change the mind of many others.

Prediction: Kentucky lands Whitney

Drew Brown

All signs seem to be indicating that Kahlil Whitney is going to end up being a Kentucky Wildcat. His performance this summer and UK’s involvement have both really ramped up during the July evaluation period.

When Whitney tweeted out his top 8 schools on Tuesday night, it was a forgone conclusion that Kentucky was going to make the cut. Obviously, UK did make it into his top 8 along with Illinois, Florida state, Georgetown, Oregon, Louisville, Miami and SMU.

I must say, that is one unusual group of schools to be choosing from. The geography and program stature is just all over the board. Whitney’s recent emergence as one of the best players in the class of 2019 have really opened his options and many are beginnings to speculate that he could finish as one of the highest ranked players in his class. 247 Sports Composite, which measures all of the rankings, has him at No. 19 right now.

Whitney’s 2016 interview with NBC Sports Chicago has been revisited a lot this week, specifically his comments about wanting to go to Kentucky and his respect for John Calipari. Here were the two quotes that are being used as evidence for why a commitment from Whitney is coming.

“I want to go to Kentucky,” Whitney said. “I hope to get an offer from them if I blow up summer of 2016.”

“I like Coach Calipari. He’s a great coach. You can display your talent at the highest level and I just love the atmosphere there for games.”

Whitney did not receive an offer from Kentucky until just recently. That 2016 interview was a long time ago, especially for a teenager. But it clearly appears that playing for Coach Cal at Kentucky is something that Whitney has had his sights set on for some time. He is set to visit Kentucky on Friday and I think pretty much everyone is expecting a commitment, possibly as early as this weekend.

With DJ Jeffries no longer in the picture it seems like a perfect storm of events for John Calipari to seal the deal with Whitney. I believe anything less than a firm commitment while Whitney is on campus for his official visit will be a let down.

Prediction: Kahlil Whitney commits to Kentucky

As far as how Whitney would fit in with next years team, I think it goes without saying that he is a much needed piece after 2019 small forward DJ Jeffries announced his decision to reopen his recruitment this week.

Whitney can score the ball, and being a Chicago native, I think it’s safe to say that he will bring toughness to the roster. Calipari has had great success with mentally and physically tough players from the Chicago area, including Tyler Ulis and DeAndre Liggins.

Whitney’s athleticism on the wing will be a valuable asset in the dribble drive offense.

Most importantly, it seems like Whitney genuinely wants to be a Kentucky Wildcat, and that is who the coaches and fans want in Lexington.

Zac Oakes

Kahlil Whitney is an impressive prospect, and one that John Calipari seems to really like, based on how quick he moved on him in offering a scholarship. He’s well-rounded, a dynamic athlete, and has great scoring ability, which continues in the mold of players John Calipari is going after in the 2019 class.

It’s not much of a stretch to think that the 2019 class could be one of Kentucky’s most offensively-gifted classes they have recruited with the players they are targeting. Both Tyrese Maxey and Dontaie Allen can put points on the board in a hurry, and Whitney can as well.

But the thing to really like about Whitney is that he seems to be just scratching the surface of the player he can be, and one would have to think he’s going to continue to expand his game and sharpen his skills. I’m expecting him to take a jump in the rankings over the course of his senior season.

It’s not a foregone conclusion Whitney comes to Kentucky. I think his home state Illinois is still a legitimate option, with former UK assistant Orlando Antigua heading up the Illini’s pursuit of Whitney.

But with Whitney on his visit to Kentucky this weekend, I think the Kentucky coaches will put on the full court press to go ahead and bring Whitney into the fold. While I would be surprised if Whitney pulled the trigger on his commitment either on his visit or a short while after, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

Ultimately, I think he ends up a Wildcat.

Prediction: Kentucky