Once again, John Calipari has entered the Lone Star State and landed a pledge from one of the nation’s elite talents, with the latest example coming in the form of five-star Atlanta power forward Daimion Collins, who announced his pledge to the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday.
In addition to the Texas Longhorns, other finalists for Collins included Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech.
As to be expected, Shaka Smart and his staff — the recently-departed Jai Lucas, in particular — made their presence felt in this recruitment early on. Had Collins brought his recruitment to a close in the spring, he’d likely become the latest five-star to call Austin home.
Instead, Texas jostled with the Sooners for the edge throughout the spring and summer. But once Kentucky jumped into the mix in late August, which coincided with Lucas, Collins’ primary recruiter for Texas, leaving Austin for Kentucky for a recruiting role that has since been elevated to a bench coaching role in place of Tony Barbee, the Wildcats have controlled all of the momentum.
In the hours leading up to Collins’ decision, the Kentucky owned 10 of 11 projections for the nation’s No. 5 power forward, per the 247Sports Composite, and as expected, Collins is now Lexington bound.
As for Texas, missing on Collins is certainly less than ideal, but once again, Smart and his staff have recruited another notable class, ranking No. 14 nationally and No. 2 in the Big 12 with pledges from four-star Davenport (Ia.) Assumption combo guard Emarion Ellis, four star Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy shooting guard Tamar Bates, four-star Brookfield (Wi.) Central power forward David Joplin, and three star Raleigh (N.C.) Grace Christian School power forward Keeyan Itejere.