UK head coach John Calipari is well on his way to a third-straight top-ranked recruiting class after announcing the signings of Anthony Davis, Michael Gilchrist, Marquis Teague and Kyle Wiltjer to National Letters of Intent. “These are not just terrific basketball players, but they’re terrific students and terrific people as well,” Calipari said. “Most importantly, they all have an unbelievable attitude about winning; they all wanted to play together knowing they’re going to have to sacrifice a little bit of their game for their teammates. With this group, it adds to what we already have within our program. These are four of the best, which is what we want to recruit here.”
Anthony Davis, a 6-foot-10 forward from Chicago, Ill., is in his senior year at Perspectives Charter in Chicago, where, as a junior, he averaged 30 points and 12 rebounds. Scout.com ranks Davis as the top overall prospect in the country. Davis is currently ranked as the best power forward in the country and second overall by ESPN Recruiting and Rivals.com ranks him the second best power forward and sixth overall.
“Anthony Davis has always loved Kentucky,” Calipari said. “He’s 6-10, but he plays like a guard. He has unbelievable skills, passing and shooting and gives us an extraordinary shot-blocking presence.”
Michael Gilchrist, a 6-foot-7 forward from Somerdale, N.J., is in his senior year at St. Patrick High School. As a junior, Gilchrist averaged 16.4 points, 11.5 rebounds and three blocks per game. Playing alongside fellow Wildcat signee Marquis Teague on the USA U17 national team, Gilchrist averaged 14.8 points and 7.2 rebounds at the FIBA U17 World Championships, helping lead Team USA to the gold medal. ESPN Recruiting, Rivals.com and Scout.com all rank Gilchrist the No. 1 small forward in the country. ESPN Recruiting and Rivals.com rank him third overall in the Class of 2011 and Scout.com ranks him fifth overall.
“When you look up the definition of ‘warrior’ in the dictionary, there is a picture of Michael there,” said Calipari. “No one plays harder or is more competitive. He has a tremendous burning desire to win, that will drive practice and elevate everyone within the program.”
Marquis Teague, a 6-foot-2 guard from Indianapolis, Ind., is a senior at Pike High School. Teague averaged 16.3 points and 4.6 assists as a junior at Pike and played alongside Gilchrist on the USA U-17 National team. He averaged 7.0 points and 6.0 assists in the FIBA U17 World Championships, helping lead Team USA to the gold medal. Rivals.com ranks Teague as the top point guard in the country and second overall, while ESPN Recruiting and Scout.com both rank him the top point guard in the country and the sixth best overall.
“Marquis is not just quick, but quick with the ball,” Calipari said. “He also has an unbelievably fierce desire to win. He played on the U17 team with Michael (Gilchrist) and when they stepped into the game together, games changed.”
Kyle Wiltjer, a 6-foot-9 forward from Portland, Ore., is a senior at Jesuit High School. Wiltjer has led Jesuit to back-to-back Oregon Class 6A state titles in 2009 and 2010. He averaged 22 points and 11 rebounds in the 2010 Nike Global Challenge and 19.4 points and six rebounds in the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, leading Canada to a third place finish in both tournaments. ESPN Recruiting and Scout.com rank him the fifth best power forward in the country, while ESPN Recruiting ranks him 16th overall in the class of 2011 and Scout.com lists him at 19th. Rivals.com ranks him the sixth best power forward and 25th overall.
“Kyle gives us the size that we need because the bigger and longer we are, the better we are,” said Calipari. “He’s a young man that knew who we were getting here and he said, ‘I want to play with the best. I want to be coached in a way that elevates my game. I’m not afraid of the challenge because I’m going to work hard.’”
The early signing period runs through Wednesday, November 17.