It sounds like Dillingham and his camp weren’t enamored with potentially playing in a backcourt that could include 2023 No. 1 overall recruit DJ Wagner, as well as 5-star guard Reed Sheppard.
Dillingham even silently committed to Kentucky, a source told On3.
So why didn’t Dillingham end up picking UK?
Well, it depends on who you ask. From Dillingham’s perspective, it appeared he was hesitant to play alongside Kentucky target DJ Wagner, which is definitely reasonable. According to Jack Pilgrim of KSR, “UK liked and wanted both pieces to pair with Reed Sheppard, but the idea of sharing the spotlight with the nation’s consensus No. 1 guard was one Dillingham’s camp struggled with.”
Tipton also mentions that there are potential eligibility concerns with recruits at the newly-formed Donda Academy. There’s also a chance Dillingham skips college altogether and goes pro.
Dillingham chose NC State over Kentucky, Kansas, LSU, and Memphis.
Breaking: Class of 2023 Top-10 guard Robert Dillingham has committed to NC State | ZAGSBLOG— Jacob Polacheck (@JacobPolacheck) December 1, 2021
“I’m a playmaker and a leader and just a point guard for real,” Dillingham said.
Story: https://t.co/8XMPKkKJxv pic.twitter.com/nTzyn8QMB7
At 6-foot-2 and 165 pounds, Dillingham is an elite scorer from all three levels. He uses great speed and ball-handling to thrive in the open court as well as consistently showing an ability to beat his man off the dribble. He also has shown he is able to flip the switch, and change into a pass first guard if needed.
During his sophomore season at Combine Academy in Lincolnton (NC), he averaged 20 points per game, while also averaging four assists and four rebounds. He did transfer this year to Donda Academy in California, and their season has just now gotten underway.
Overall, this recruitment always seemed to be a little bit of an up-hill battle.
Dillingham was once considered to be a North Carolina lock, but after new head coach Hubert Davis took over, it appears both parties seemed to head in different directions. He then took visits to Memphis and Kentucky, and after both trips, the schools seemed to think they had a lead.
For the last several weeks, Kentucky actually appeared to be a lock to land Dillingham, so it will be interesting to see if we learn why things changed so dramatically in the days leading into his commitment.
With all of that said, there is still plenty to be excited about when it comes to the backcourt in 2023 for the Cats. The staff secured a commitment from 5-star legacy recruit Reed Sheppard several weeks back, and Kentucky still sits in a tremendous spot for 5-star guard and No. 1 overall recruit DJ Wagner.
Dillingham is currently ranked 8th overall in the 247 Sports Composite Rankings and is listed as the No. 1 point guard in the class.