LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- They've got the 2nd-ranked team in the country coming off an impressive 74-63 win over Duke. And three commitments in the last week added to three earlier commits made next year look pretty good for Kentucky basketball as well.
It's a six-man class made official Thursday. For the sixth or seventh time in his eight-year tenure depending on which service you use, it will likely give John Calipari the top-ranked recruiting class. When asked about it during his pre-Wright State press conference, Calipari said it will help him get a head start on the class of '17 and allow him to concentrate on this year's talented team.
Here's a look at the class of '16 with comments and quotes courtesy of UK Sports Information.
Edrice "Bam" Adebayo, F, 6-9, 230 Jacksonville, N.C.
Adebayo, a forward, could be one of the gems of the 2016 class. A physical specimen at 6-foot-9, 230 pounds, Adebayo can not only run the floor well, he's an athletic and explosive finisher around the basket who can score with both hands.
"Of all the players I saw in the summer, no one had a combination of a dominating spirit and a physical presence like Bam," Calipari said. "He has a skill level of a player that is normally four inches smaller than him. Aside from his rebounding ability, he plays positionless basketball, just like our other kids. Bam is going to be a big-time player for us."
De'Aaron Fox, G, 6-3, 170 Katy, Texas
Fox is an elite-level point guard considered to be one of the top overall players in the country in the 2016 class. The Katy, Texas product out of Cypress Lakes High School is blessed with exceptional speed, a knack for beating defenders off the dribble and a penchant for finishing at the basket.
"De'Aaron Fox has speed, he has scoring ability, he can really pass and he can guard the ball," Calipari said. "But those are things that can be said about different players. The intangible that I really loved is that every player wants to play with him. This whole class wants him to be the guard on the team. When I found out how much they loved him, I nicknamed him 'the General' because they all want to play for him."
Wenyen Gabriel, F, 6-9, 200 Wibraham, Mass.
Gabriel is a 6-9, 200-pound forward who currently plays at Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Wilbraham, Mass. Ranked as high as No. 10 in the national rankings, Gabriel is an inside-out forward with a high motor, length to cause problems inside, and an ability to stretch opposing defenses with a great shooting touch for a big man.
"When I saw Wenyen, I knew he had grown from 6-3 to 6-9," Calipari said. "I see him as a 6-10 guard in the sense that, if we're playing three guards, he's one of them. He can really shoot it, he's got a great shot and he's a shot blocker defensively. He's an energy guy who can guard multiple positions and is getting better by the day. Wenyen fits in perfectly with this class."
Sacha Killeya-Jones, F, 6-10, 207 Lynchburg, Va.
Killeya-Jones is a long, athletic big man considered to have a ton of upside. The 6-10, 207-pound forward is a highly skilled offensive post player who is a consensus top-35 player. 274Sports ranks him 16th overall, Rivals has him 26th, Scout tabs him at No. 29, and ESPN has him at No. 31.
"When we learned about Sacha and were contacted about him having an interest in us, I asked him why Kentucky," Calipari said. "His answer was, 'Because you've coached players like me who have had growth spurts and all of those players have done well for you.' You're talking about a skilled player who can block shots. He can play multiple positions and fits in with the mold of kids we have, which are great kids, great students and great teammates."
Malik Monk, G, 6-4, 185 Bentonville, Ark.
Monk is considered the top shooting guard in the class. At 6-4, 185 pounds, Monk is a long and athletic guard that can both shoot it and make plays off the dribble. The consensus five-star prospect is ranked No. 5 overall in the 2016 class by 247Sports and ESPN and No. 6 by Rivals and Scout.
"Malik is a scoring point guard who can play both positions," Calipari said. "Malik has Derrick Rose explosiveness. Think about that for a second. He's as good of a scorer, as good of a shooter and as good of a shot creator as I've seen in a while. With his quickness and speed, he should be a great defender - a great defender."
Tai Wynyard, F, 6-9, 230 Aukland, NZ
Wynyard is a 6-9, 230-pound forward. The Auckland, New Zealand native, who was a part of the World Select Team that edged the USA Junior National Select Team at the 2015 Nike Hoop Summit, is a physically imposing forward who does his best damage around the basket.
"With Tai, you're talking about a 6-9 physical athlete who is not afraid to get physical," Calipari said. "He has good skills. The most exciting part is what he's done with his country's national team. Everybody that's watched him recently has said, 'Man has he gotten better. He's competing at a high level.' They've never seen him as physically fit. Tai is totally different than any player we have."
UK looks to move to 4-0 this season when they host Wright State at 8:00 pm Friday at Rupp Arena.
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