Photo: 247Sports/Collin Kennedy
The good news continues for John Calipari and the Kentucky basketball program.
After both Olivier Sarr and Jacob Toppin received their waivers for immediate eligibility last week, Kentucky received back-to-back commitments from five-star guard Skyy Clark and four-star forward Bryce Hopkins.
Not even a week later, 2021 five-star forward Daimion Collins has announced his commitment to Kentucky, choosing the Wildcats over Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech and Kansas.
Collins, a 6-foot-10, 200-pound forward out of Atlanta, TX, is considered the No. 19 prospect in the 247Sports Composite Rankings and is listed as high as No. 10 overall in the Rivals rankings.
Leading up to the commitment, UK picked up eight consecutive Crystal Ball picks over at 247Sports and three FutureCasts at Rivals.
“We sat down and talked when he got the offer, he was really excited, came in smiling in my office,” Atlanta High School basketball coach Jarrod Boston told KSR. “I said, “You have to seriously think about this. What’s your end goal? What do you want to do in life?” He wants to play in the NBA, I’ll be honest with you.”
In his own coach’s words, Kentucky maintained the “greatest pitch ever.”
“It’s the greatest pitch ever: “You come here, and we’ll give you the chance to play in the NBA,” Boston said of UK’s goes-without-saying recruiting pitch. “He knows. … He wants to get a shot. I said, “Well, you realize if you go to Kentucky, you will get a shot. You’ll at least get looked at and have the resources to get looked at.” It’s all up to how hard he’s willing to work, what he’s willing to do. That’s Kentucky’s allure.”
The newest Kentucky Wildcat previously told KSR that Calipari and the UK coaching staff are comparing him to Anthony Davis, who just won his first NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers a few weeks ago.
“Coach Cal tells me he’d use me how he used Anthony Davis,” Collins told KSR. “He said I remind him a lot of Anthony and that I’d be able to do a lot of the things he’s doing now. When I come there, the development, he says he’ll be able to develop me.”
All of the success former Kentucky players had in the NBA’s Orlando bubble this summer and into the fall? Collins noticed.
“That shows me how Coach Cal can develop players and get them to where they need to be, to go to the next level,” Collins said. “It’s been pretty good to be able to see them on TV because it lets me know what I need to know.”
Now that he’s officially committed, what do fans need to know about his game?
“His game, the best thing I can say about him is that he’s explosive,” Collins’ coach told KSR. “He just, he does some things that’ll have you shaking your head saying, “How did he do that?” It’s amazing watching his growth, really from the last two or three years, it’s amazing how good he’s gotten. He’s long, long-armed. What’s strange is, usually when you get the real tall kids – he’s about 6’10” – they don’t have the explosive jumping ability. He’s got like a 40- or 45-inch vertical, I think.
“He’s just so athletic and so explosive. I’d also say his game is in the baby stages, I think that’s why people are so excited about him. You see so much potential for growth, it’s unbelievable. … His ceiling is just out of this world, it’s unreal. He hasn’t even come close, to me, touching what he can be. That’s the biggest thing.”
Kentucky has now picked up commitments from Collins, Bryce Hopkins, and four-star point guard Nolan Hickman in the class of 2021, with UK also extending offers to Patrick Baldwin Jr., Jaden Hardy, Hunter Sallis, Moussa Diabate and Brandin Podziemski.
UK also picked up its first 2022 commitment last week when Skyy Clark chose the Wildcats over North Carolina, Memphis and UCLA. While he’s currently sticking with his original 2022 class, the five-star guard is considering a jump to 2021 at a later date.
Celebrate Collins’ commitment with some of his most recent highlights:
Welcome to the family.