As DJ Jeffries unfortunately decommitted from Kentucky, John Calipari has a great chance to add his replacement very soon.
Roselle Catholic small forward Kahlil Whitney, the No. 14 player on ESPN, is considered to have Kentucky as the favorites to land him. He is expected to announce his college decision as early as next week following his official visit to Lexington, which is still taking place as we speak.
Whitney’s high school Roselle Catholic not only has Kentucky ties, but they’ve continually produced notable collegiate players over the years. One of those being former Kentucky guard Isaiah Briscoe who now plays for the Orlando Magic.
Other notable recent players to play at Roselle Catholic include:
3-time American Eastern Conference Player of the Year Jameel Warney (whom Kentucky played in the Round of 64 in 2017), former Syracuse center Tyler Roberson and guard Malachi Richardson (1st-round NBA Draft pick in 2016), South Carolina center Chris Silva (First-Team All-SEC in 2018), Naz Reid (5-star freshman at LSU), and 5-star freshman Louis King for Oregon.
Needless to say, Roselle Catholic has excellent basketball pedigree, and Kahlil Whitney looks to be the next great Lion in college basketball.
Whitney has solid size for a small forward at 6-7, 200 lbs. While he doesn’t have Hamidou Diallo athleticism, Whitney is a high flying finisher with great leaping ability. Not only does he fill lanes in transition beautifully to get easy dunk opportunities, but Whitney utilizes a great blend of mobility and athleticism to create a versatile offensive repertoire.
Down near the rim Whitney, has very solid post play for a wing. His tape against smaller high school players will have you thinking you’re watching a 6-10 center as his great vertical leaping off two feet creates massive dunks above defenders.
Then you can watch him with his AAU team, Mac Irvin Fire, and you see a solid handling of the basketball and a fundamentally pure perimeter jump-shot. From a fundamental standpoint, Whitney plays the wing position with a firm grasp of how to play in the post like a center can. These two wonderful traits come together to formulate Whitney’s most effective move, the turnaround jumper.
Whitney doesn’t just play physically while under the rim; if he gets his back onto a defender, he’s going to force them backward. He excels at creating power in his shoulders thrusts when posting up, and getting his entire body into defenders to get them off their feet and out of position.
Then the turnaround jumper in the midrange simply looks professional. There’s great fundamentals with his jump shot, and his wrist motion is sublime. The only issue is an occasional slowness going into his jump shot and going up around the rim when he receives an entry pass.
Whitney’s three-point potential is the most important thing about him when it comes to future success at the collegiate and potentially the NBA level. As stated prior, the mechanics of his jumper are solid, even if it’s not the quickest in the world.
He’s shown the capability to hit it consistently, but it may not be something that’s considered a strong suit for him in the early days of his college career. The more comfortable he gets, seemingly the more comfortable he is with shooting an increased number of threes.
Whitney can easily be a lottery selection in the 2020 NBA Draft with his physical gifts and widened offensive game. His defensive capabilities are difficult to gauge at this stage, but playing effective perimeter defense will be crucial to his development.
A player like Whitney would be something incredibly stable to play next to the likes of Tyrese Maxey, something Kentucky fans should be drooling over as the 2019 recruiting class starts to truly unfold.