"They're high-character kids." Calipari discusses loaded 2016 class

11/19/2015 02:38 PM

Kentucky officially announced the signing of five highly rated prospects for their 2016 basketball class.

In a press release, John Calipari said of the class, “One of the things I loved about this group is they all want to play together. This recruiting wasn’t just coming from me and my staff; this whole group wanted to play together and wants to be one of the best groups ever. To make this work, they’ve got to like each other and want to play together, and this group already has that.

Calipari added, “Part of that is they’re great kids, both on and off the court. They’re terrific students and get it done in the classroom. They’re high-character kids. They understand that what they do off the court is just as important as what they do on the court.”

Here’s what Calipari had to say about each player:

On five-star center Bam Adebayo…

“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.”

On five-star point guard De’Aaron Fox…

“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.”

On five-star power forward Wenyen Gabriel…

“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.”

On four-star power forward Sacha Killeya-Jones…

“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.”

On five-star shooting guard Malik Monk…

“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.”


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