While fan anticipation is building as the Kentucky Wildcats basketball team will play their annual Blue-White game on Saturday and is just weeks away from kicking off the season, there was some big recruiting news on Friday.
Heading into the decision, momentum was with Kentucky, after the staff went all in over the closing weeks. However, the recruitment was held very close to the chest, and confidence was not high. Many analysts compared Fland’s recruitment to the recent recruitment of Ian Jackson, who spurred Kentucky at the last second for North Carolina (and may still go to St. John’s with Rick Pitino). But unlike Ian Jackson, the Wildcats were able to secure the commitment.
At 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds, Fland needs to add weight to his frame, but he is certainly skilled. With a well-rounded and exciting game, Fland can play either guard spot. He has the ability to score from all three levels, creating his own shot, but is quick to say, “Scoring isn’t everything,” and likes to get his teammates involved. If you are looking for a comparison, one player he likes to model his game from is former Wildcat Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Fland joins four-star big Somto Cyril as the two commits for Kentucky in the 2024 class. With Fland’s commitment, Kentucky jumped from 51st up to 17th in the 247 Sports team class rankings.
As for where he stands in the current recruiting rankings, Fland is 10th overall at Rivals (first among point guards), 15th at On3 (first among point guards), 18th at ESPN (second among point guards), and 33rd at 247 Sports (third among combo guards).
Looking ahead to the remainder of the 2024 class, Kentucky was recently cut from top-five prospect Tre Johnson’s list, but Karter Knox (the younger brother of former Cat Kevin Knox) just included the Cats among his four finalists earlier this week. Kentucky is also believed to be at the top of the list, if not the favorites, for Jayden Quaintance and Billy Richmond.
That said, given the 2024 class is relatively weak, the staff may look harder in the transfer portal this year, or even get creative with a reclassification or international prospect.
‘Fland is a skilled guard whose biggest asset is his ability to shoot the basketball. Like few other players in high school basketball, he has an ability to heat up and start making tough shots from long-range. However, his willingness to settle for those tough shots, can impact his efficiency. The 30% he shot from behind the three-point line in EYBL came in direct correlation to his shot selection, since he’s undoubtedly a better shooter than those numbers indicate.
“While Fland is young for his grade, he remains undersized with a slighter natural build, but deceptively long arms. His lack of strength can sometimes limit his ability to play through contact in the lane, but he has good range on his floater and is adept at getting to the free-throw line.
“Fland has spent most of his high school career playing off the ball, but has developed into a reliable secondary ball-handler who has become increasingly capable of initiating offense with the ball in his hands. He has pace with the ball, both in the open floor and coming off ball-screens, a good left hand, and has definitely gotten tighter with his handle over the years.
“Defensively, Fland has the long arms, quick hands, and feet to be effective. He defends with a playmaking mindset that leads to a high steal rate (1.7/game), and has untapped potential as someone who can pick-up and pressure the ball away from the basket.
“Overall, Fland is a skilled shooter, who bases his game off his ability to make tough shots right now. As he continues to build up his body and learns to impact the game in other ways, he’s only going to become more efficient.”
Now, let’s check out some highlights of the newest Wildcat in action!