Stop me if you’ve heard this one before — John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats have a fresh commitment from a 5-star prospect.
In news that was anything but surprising, 2022 five-star small-forward Chris Livingston pledged his allegiance to the ‘Cats on Wednesday.
Prior to his scheduled announcement, it was well-known that things looked for favorable considering 100% of his 247 Sports Crystal Ball predictions were logged for UK.
The Akron (OH) prospect committed to Kentucky over Memphis, Georgetown and Tennessee State.
Just because it was expected, don’t make the mistake of skipping over Chris Livingston’s commitment.
247 Sports’ composite rankings have him listed as the sixth overall best player in the nation and number two small-forward, just behind Montverde’s Dariq Whitehead.
When it’s all said and done, he could easily end up a consensus top-five player in the class.
Livingston will join current Kentucky commitments Skyy Clark and Shaedon Sharpe in what is shaping up to be a monster Class of 2022 for Calipari and his staff.
Adding some legitimate size remains critical, but Chris Livingston has a terrific stature for a wing player. At 6-6 and 200 pounds, his body will continue to fill out before he arrives in Lexington next year, ideally giving UK some toughness on the perimeter .
What type of player is he?
Chris Livingston’s game is predicated on attacking the rim. 247’s Jerry Meyer describes him as an ‘explosive’ athlete who can make plays in traffic. Even at this early stage in his career, by all indications he is an elite slasher and finisher in the paint.
Livingston is also a capable shooter from outside, while also being a serviceable ball-handler. Both of these areas are likely to be the focal point of his development once he arrives on campus.
It’s absolutely worth noting that despite not having the greatest handle, when you watch Livingston play in live game action, it’s evident that he has a great feel for the game and doesn’t lack and any confidence offensively. He can get shifty in the paint and isn’t afraid to pull up and shoot a jump shot deep out on the perimeter.
In the brief film that I’ve seen, my biggest takeaway is that Livingston’s game should thrive playing with elite guards like Sharpe and Clark. His skill-set can be used to exploit defenses in so many ways while playing on the wing and slashing to the basket.
Recently, Calipari has talked about transitioning to a four-guard lineup and Livingston seems like the perfect fit to complete that puzzle.
But when you really take a look at long-term potential, it could very well be on the defensive end where Livingston makes his mark.
His length and aggression could be molded into an elite SEC defender and ultimately used as a tool to get him drafted into the NBA.
So in summary, Kentucky is getting a big, athletic wing who aggressively attacks the rim.
Alrighty, seems safe to say that he will fit in well with John Calipari’s typical game plan.
I spoke with Kentucky Sports Radio’s Jack Pilgrim and here’s what he had to say about adding a player like Chris Livingston to the class of 2022.
“At 6-7, 220 pounds, Chris Livingston is a versatile wing threat capable of playing the two through four. A much-improved shooter over the last year, the Akron native thrives on catch-and-shoot opportunities, but is at his best when attacking the rim and finishing with force at the basket. Boasting an NBA-ready body with elite athleticism and a quick first step, he’s a mismatch nightmare at the collegiate level. He’s too tall and strong for typical threes, but too quick, athletic and skilled for college fours. Add in his comfort in the mid-range on turnaround and step-back jumpers, and Livingston’s versatility as an inside-out threat is clear. He’s got stiff hips with a high dribble and settles for bad shots at times, but there’s no denying his potential. As an attacker, finisher and pure athlete, he’s among the best in the senior class.”
Fresh off the commitment of Shaedon Sharpe, the #1 player in the country, it could be easy to just glance over Livingston’s as simply a nice addition.
But again, I caution against that because we are talking about the sixth-ranked player in the entire class, and a young prospect who is oozing potential.
The Kentucky coaching staff continues to wreak havoc on the recruiting trail and the Big Blue Nation is here for every minute of it.
Welcome to the family, Chris.