By LARRY VAUGHT
Rivals.com recruiting writer Krysten Peek remembers walking through a gym in Dallas this summer when Kahlil Whitney, a five-star small forward from Roselle, N.J., had a putback dunk that “shut the gym down” because it was so impressive.
“He is so explosive. His outside shot is so much better than what it used to be. He’s just a different player from a year ago,” said Peek. “He is a fun, explosive player in transition and he is very passionate on the court.”
His commitment to Kentucky last week got a bit overlooked because John Calipari’s team was playing four exhibition games in the Bahamas. However, the 6-6 Whitney is consensus top 20 player nationally and a player that Calipari targeted earlier this summer.
His commitment came just a few days after Pendleton County’s Josh Allen, another 6-6 wing, also gave his verbal commitment. That meant Calipari needed only a very few days after D.J. Jeffries de-committed from UK to add two other similar players.
“I think he (Whitney) is better player and that might be what intimidated D.J. some,” Peek said. “Quicker in first step, finishes better, better rebounder. I have never seen Kahlil take a game off. He’s fun to watch. If he is in the gym, I am watching.
“Once Kentucky started recruiting Kahlil and Dontaie, I knew there was a chance D.J. would decommit. No player wants to see coaches recruit other players at his position. There are a few schools involved now for D.J. Memphis most definitely is a contender. Also look for Ole Miss to get involved and his cousin, K.J. Lawson, plays at Kansas, so they’ll be in the mix as well.”
Calipari had never had a player de-commit from Kentucky before — which was no surprise to Peek.
“Any time a player commits to Kentucky, you think he will stay because of what Kentucky stands for. It is the dream school for a lot of players but also remembers kids have egos and it is a business. I think his feelings got hurt a little bit when Kentucky recruited other players,” Peek said.