Trey Lyles did the best he could to put up a smokescreen in the hours leading up to his announcement, but once the Arsenal Tech HS product made his decision on ESPNU on Tuesday afternoon, the decision was what we all expected from the beginning.
“Next year, I will be playing for the University of Kentucky,” Lyles said.
The 6-foot-9 power forward becomes the fourth commitment in the class for John Calipari, joining Karl Towns, Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker. Lyles ranks as the No. 8 recruit in the Class of 2014, according to Rivals. He’s a versatile scorer, capable of stepping out and knocking down a three, but he’s just the size and strength to hold his own on the block. “Highly skilled big man understands how to use his strength to create leverage and hold position,” Rivals’ Eric Bossi said. “Similar to a young Carlos Boozer, not a high flyer but scores with jump hooks and short jumpers. Excellent rebounder who plays physically on both ends.”
Lyles picked Kentucky over Louisville.
“Coach Cal’s record with players like me,” Lyles said at his announcement ceremony. “I want to be an all-star. He’s had a lot of guys that have been able to get to that stage.”
Lyles is the second five-star commitment that Coach Cal has landed for 2014, and it will likely but the Wildcats up to the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. But that doesn’t change the fact that this has been an odd recruiting cycle for UK.
They missed out on Emmanuel Mudiay, Kelly Oubre and James Blackmon Jr. Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Cliff Alexander seem to be looking elsewhere. The stranglehold that Coach Cal seemed to have on the top players in the country has diminished. And while he still needs to add to the perimeter in this year’s class, a front line that includes Lyles, Towns and whoever decides to return from this year’s team will once again make Kentucky a title contender in 2015.