This was an unusual recruitment where UK, at one time, had built a ton of steam and was the perceived favorite to land Bona.
The turning point?
Well that happened when John Calipari and his staff went all in on signing Dereck Lively, which forced Bona to wait for the dust to settle, though Calipari wanted to get both.
Obviously, Lively selected Duke and in the time leading up to his decision allowed UCLA to make up some ground. An official visit to UCLA’s campus a couple of weekends back seemed to seal the deal.
And the rest became history.
Rated by 247 Sports as the 19th-best player overall, this was a great get for Mick Cronin .
Bona is a towering presence standing 6-foot-10 and 225 pounds. He has a reputation for testing the integrity of the rim with his ferocious dunks.
His journey to UCLA was an interesting one to say the least. Adem Bona was born in Nigeria and moved to Turkey when he was 14 years old. From there he made his way to the United States and has found a home playing at Prolific Prep located in Northern California.
Dominant at times while playing for Turkey in the FIBA U19 World Cup in July, Bona averaged a modest 8.4 points per game, those numbers becoming more impressive when you include his 67% field goal percentage over the course of the event.
At this stage in his development Bona’s stats may not always jump off the page, but they surely don’t tell the whole story.
The way at which he gets up and down the floor while also being able to catch and finish is elite. To take it a step further, his motor can best be described as relentless on both ends of the floor.
Take one look at Adem Bona, and you’re going to have a hard time believing that he’s still in high school.
Where does this leave Kentucky?
Losing Bona without a doubt is a tough blow to Kentucky’s 2022 class. But don’t forget about the studs that are already locked in to join forces in Lexington, including the No. 1 player in the entire class, Shaedon Sharpe.
However, as good as Shaedon Sharpe, Chris Livingston and Skyy Clark are — none of them stand taller than 6-foot-6 — making adding some size to next’s year's class a complete priority.
Cal has now missed on the top three bigs in the class. Lively, Flilipowski and Bona.
It’ll be interesting to see where Calipari and his staff go from here as it will be much tougher to make in-person contact with the season quickly approaching.