The Kentucky Wildcats have officially added another piece to their 2022-2023 basketball roster.
On Mother’s Day, 3-star guard Adou Thiero from Leetsdale, PA announced his plan to join the program. UK has since announced the signing of Thiero.
“I am excited to have Adou join our program. He is a great kid who comes from a terrific family,” John Calipari said in a press release. “Adou is a winner who fought through some adversity last summer and then led his team to the state championship game.
“Much like Dom (Hawkins) and Derek (Willis), Adou understands the grind and process of development here. He knows nothing will be easy, but he has great size and has the makeup of the kind of guard who excels here, someone who can play on the ball or off and can finish at the rim in a variety of ways. I can’t wait to coach him and help him reach his goals.”
It came as a surprise to many on March 26th when John Calipari offered a player that was unranked at the time. He’s now 189th in 247 Sports’ class of 2022 composite rankings.
Thiero’s offer came shortly after Calipari saw him score 18 points and grab 10 rebounds in Pennsylvania’s 4A State Championship game.
The 6-foot-5 180 pound guard from Quaker Valley High School took his time accepting the offer to play for Kentucky, a place that he once labeled as his “dream school.”
So, why did John Calipari and Kentucky take a chance on a player ranked well below their typical recruit?
For starters, there’s a ton of potential.
Kentucky Sports Radio’s Jack Pilgrim provided some insight on what he sees when evaluating the potential of Thiero.
“Adou Thiero is a late bloomer, growing over six inches up to 6-5 in the past year alone. He plays a physical brand of basketball, getting downhill and embracing contact around the basket, resulting in consistent free-throw opportunities. He’s also controlled in the half-court and makes the right play, rarely rushed. Defensively, he’s long and active, a strong shot-blocker and a threat in the passing lanes. He also rebounds extremely well for his size. Thiero is a multi-year project piece, but one with a lot of upside. As he continues to grow and fill out, the production will follow.” Pilgrim told A Sea of Blue.
UK wasn’t the only Power 5 school that showed interest — Pitt, Maryland and Xavier all offered with Ohio State and Indiana reportedly in the mix as well.
Thiero has grown a freakish amount since entering high school and may not be done growing yet.
Currently standing 6 foot 5, Thiero has an effortless bounce and is a crafty finisher around the rim. He’ll have to get stronger to prepare for SEC play but Calipari must have complete faith that the tools are there to bring Thiero into the mix.
Another reason the late offer may have been extended was a connection that goes back to Calipari’s days at Memphis.
Adou’s father, Almamy Thiero, played for Coach Cal at Memphis between 2002-2005.
Almamy also has previous ties to the state of Kentucky. After coming to the United States he briefly played for Louisville Moore High School.
So, it’s accurate to say that there is an element of this offer having a legacy element to it considering his father did play for Coach Calipari at Memphis.
The 2022-2023 roster still may not be complete, so it’s difficult to project exactly how Adou Thiero will fit in and how much, if any, playing time is on the table.
Regardless, his commitment clearly was something in the works and pat of a bigger plan as the staff begins to see the full picture unfolding heading into NBA Draft decision deadlines.
Thiero will join the other 2022 commits Chris Livingston and Cason Wallace upon his arrival in Lexington.
Welcome to the family, Adou!