Montgomery, the No. 12 overall player in the class of 2018, will be a big addition for John Calipari's team.

By Nihal Kolur
April 09, 2018

Kentucky's 2018 recruiting class received another highly-touted recruit on Monday, as 5-star power forward E.J. Montgomery announced his commitment to John Calipari and the Wildcats.

“Just the coaches and their track record with their players,” Montgomery told 247 Sports’ Evan Daniels as to why he picked Kentucky. “I can go get developed and be the best that I can be.”

A Georgia native, Montgomery is ranked No. 12 in the country on 247Sports' composite rankings and is No. 16 on ESPN's top 100 list. He will join fellow 5-star prospects and McDonalds All-Americans Keldon Johnson (No. 6) and Immanuel Quickley (No. 17), as well as 4-star guard Tyler Herro (No. 25).

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Originally expected to commit to Duke (247Sports gave him a 75% chance of signing with Mike Krzyzewski's team), Montgomery surprised recruiters with his decision to go to Lexington.

“It was a pretty hard decision,” Montgomery told Daniels. “I had to talk about the pros and cons about every school. I just had that feeling that Kentucky was the place for me.”

I’m rocking Kentucky blue 🔵⚪️ #BBN #BGN ‼️

A post shared by Ej Montgomery® (@_mont23) on

"Duke was his leader for a long time," Larry Thompson, Montgomery's Wheeler High School coach, told SEC Country. "I think it kind of changed after the McDonald's [All-American] game, after just being around the guys. E.J. had a little concern about the Zion [Williamson] situation: Is he a four? Where's he going to play? Is he a five? So that was one of the concerns, and I think ultimately the relationship that was built with Coach Payne and Coach Cal since January kind of helped seal the deal."

Last September, Montgomery decommitted from Auburn when FBI investigations into Auburn assistant Chuck Person for bribery went public.

At 6'10", Montgomery is known for his excellent court vision as well as his ability to finish through contact inside, averaging 14.1 points and 11.0 rebounds for the Atlanta Celtics last spring and summer.

With Montgomery's signing, Kentucky looks to have a strong incoming freshman class to replace Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Hamidou Diallo, who are all expected to declare for the NBA draft. Calipari has also been targeting 5-star point guard Ashton Hagans, who is expected to re-classify to the class of 2018.

The Wildcats currently have the No. 2 recruiting class in the country, behind only Duke.

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