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5-star center Ugonna Kingsley commits to Kentucky

Kentucky finalizes the 2022-23 roster with "one of the best rim protectors in the country, regardless of class."

Ugonna Kingsley Ugonna Kingsley

The Kentucky Wildcats have recruiting momentum in both the football and basketball programs, and just now, John Calipari and Co were the ones to receive the latest commitment: Ugonna Kingsley.

At 2 pm ET, Kingsley announced his commitment to the Cats via 247 Sports on YouTube. For all intents and purpose, this finalizes the 2022-23 Kentucky basketball roster, which now stands at 11 scholarship players.

Kingsley’s commitment comes off the heels of a visit to Kentucky back in July, where all of his boxes were checked, and he felt at home in Lexington. He chose Kentucky over the Kansas Jayhawks, Memphis Tigers, Oklahoma Sooners, and others.

Kingsley is one of the fastest-rising prospects in the country, first appearing in recruiting rankings back in late May. Two months later, Kingsley was ranked as a top-25 prospect and one of the best centers in the 2023 class.

With that said, Kingsley is no longer with the 2023 class, announcing that he would reclassify in late July. With his reclassification, Kingsley now stands No. 18 in the On3 prospect rankings for 2022.

Due to the Shaedon Sharpe saga, the Big Blue Nation is likely to be a little wary - understandably so - of Kingsley’s reclassification, but this is a different situation.

While Kingsley is very talented, he does not yet possess the talent level of a projected top-10 pick coming out of high school. With that assurance, Kingsley’s reclassification is a benefit for himself and the Kentucky basketball program.

In his first year in Lexington, Kingsley will be allowed to sit and develop behind reigning National Player of the Year Oscar Tshiebwe, then take over in 2023-24 when Tshiebwe is expected to be in the NBA Draft. Kingsley’s early arrival will also give Kentucky some insurance if a frontcourt player were to go down with an injury.

Despite both of his parents being under six feet in height, the Nigerian native possesses a 6-foot-11, 195-pound frame, and an impressive 7-foot-5 wingspan. Given his physical gifts, Kingsley is a natural on the defensive end and is a high-level rim protector. Overall, he is one of the best defenders in high school basketball, but his lack of strength can hurt him at times in the post.

On the offensive end, Kingsley has impressive footwork and shows the ability to score consistently around the basket. Outside of that, shooting, passing, and dribbling are all areas in need of improvement.

In early June, Kingsley admitted to On3’s Jamie Shaw, “I have been wanting to go to Kentucky all my life, even before coming to the states.”

Now, Kingsley has made his dream a reality and Kentucky is bringing in one of the best rim protectors they have had in recent memory.

Though he's joining the team for next season, Kingsley will not be playing in the Bahamas Tour next week.

Time to check out some highlights of the newest Wildcat!

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