A look at how Kentucky’s 2016 class has fared this season.
The Kentucky Wildcats and head coach John Calipari again hold the nation’s best recruiting class, according to Scout.com, and the five players signed to set foot in Lexington next season are all in midst of their high school seasons.
Scout recruiting analysts Evan Daniels, Brian Snow and Josh Gershon recently broke down the five new Wildcats. Here’s what they said:
Edrice “Bam” Adebayo, an elite, bruising big man from High Point Christian Academy in North Carolina, checks in as the No. 2 center and No. 15 player in the 2016 class. Scout checked in on him at the prestigious City of Palms tournament.The 6'9", 230 pound Adebayo has made some strides in his offensive skill set.
”At City of Palms, Adebayo was more effective from the high-post than we’ve seen in the past. He looked to take defenders off the bounce and attack. In doing so, he showed a better handle than expected and while he’s not a consistent mid-range shooter yet, his shot certainly has potential.”
The 6'4", 170 pound Fox ranks as the top point guard in the nation and the No. 4 overall player. A high-energy, high-IQ floor general, Fox boasts a tremendous all-around game and has the size and strength to profile as a very intriguing prospect at the pro level, as well.
Scout took a look at the rising star from Katy, Texas over Thanksgiving and noted strides in his offensive discipline and his long ball.
“Another area he’s shown improvement is with his long distance shooting. He’s comfortable shooting the ball from deep and the lefty has gotten more consistent. Now he didn’t shoot the ball great in our viewing, as he took some tough, contested shots, so he’ll need to sure up his shot selection, but overall, he projects as a good shooter in time.”
Wenyen Gabriel, a fast-rising power forward from Wilbraham, Mass., rates as the No. 3 player at his position and No. 10 overall in this class. A versatile post player who prefers to face up to the basket, the 6'10" Gabriel’s abilities continue to expand and make him a quintessential highly-skilled John Calipari big man.
“Over the summer we evaluated Gabriel as a face up forward that had impressive skills for the position. Josh Gershon noted at adidas Nations that he may be making the move to the wing full time and it turns out he was right. At the National Prep Showcase early in the season and then again at the Hoop Hall Classic, Gabriel showed he could defend wings and play the position offensively. This is key and raised his profile as a prospect. Not only does he have very good size for a perimeter player, he's also versatile enough to slide to the four at times and play a face up four role.”
Killeya-Jones is the only four-star of this bunch, but ranks as the seventh-best power forward and 30th overall recruit nonetheless. An agile big man, the Lynchburg, Va. product has blossomed as a senior. Though he profiles more as a long-term guy who will take some time to develop — and may not be a one-and-done like his teammates — the 6'10" Killeya-Jones is definitely a name to watch as his college career begins.
Scout’s analysts listed one concern about his play this season.
“Killeya-Jones has to be careful to not let his improving jumper take him away from his strengths as a scorer from close range and on the block. He faded to the perimeter a tad too much in our viewings, which led to travels and wild drives. There’s been talk of him possibly playing on the perimeter and while he’s skilled, he’s much better suited as a versatile face up forward that can also post up, than as a wing player.”
One of the most freakishly athletic high school guards in years, Malik Monk is Scout’s No. 6 player and No. 1 shooting guard in his class. Standing 6'4" with impressive quickness and leaping ability, Monk has all the tools to be successful right away at Kentucky and could land in the draft lottery if all goes well.
Monk, an elite defensive prospect from Arkansas, continues to expand his offensive skills, and though he may not profile as a true point guard yet, he also may not need to.
“Over the summer it was evident Monk had improved as a shooter. His shot mechanics and form are good. He didn’t shoot the ball with efficiency in our viewings this season and he can be a tad streaky, but he did shoot nearly 35-percent from three in the EYBL and with time and effort, his shot consistency will improve. He also showed a floater/runner in the lane that he used at the Hoop Hall, where he tossed the ball in on the run from 15-feet.”