Sacha Killeya-Jones commits to Kentucky Wildcats

ByPaul Biancardi ESPN logo
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sacha Killeya-Jones, a 6-foot-11 recruit who decommitted from Virginiaon June 2,told ESPN on Wednesday that he'll attend Kentuckyafter his senior season.

Killeya-Jones, who is ranked No. 56 in the ESPN 100, is the first commitment for Kentucky in the class of 2016. He chose the Wildcats over Virginia, Cal, Florida, Connecticut, Georgetown, Wake Forest, and North Carolina.

The Virginia Episcopal School senior -- who is from Chapel Hill, North Carolina -- cited the opportunity to play for Hall of Fame coach John Calipari as a factor in his decision.

"I look at what Coach Calipari has done with players like myself, and I see the way he prepares them for the next level and it's impressive," Killeya-Jones said. "He is a really genuine person who is a demanding coach. I felt very comfortable with him and [I] trust him."

Killeya-Jones was among the standouts at Under Armour's All-America camp in July, averaging 11.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.

With as many as six scholarships available, 2016 could be another blockbuster class for the Wildcats. The program is making a hard push for other ESPN 100 standouts including Harry Giles (No. 1), Dennis Smith Jr. (No. 4), Malik Monk (No. 5), Miles Bridges (No. 7), De'Aaron Fox (No. 10) and Wenyen Gabriel (No. 83).

Both Killeya-Jones and Gabriel are expected to rise in the next ESPN rankings, to be revealed Aug. 26.

Kentucky's first seven recruiting classes under Calipari (2009-15) have been ranked either No. 1 or No. 2.

Killeya-Jones said he was impressed with the Kentucky campus, academic setup and the coaching staff's approach.

"A lot of coaching staffs tell you what you want to hear but I liked their straightforward approach," Killeya-Jones said. "I would see [assistant] coach John Robic at my games and he would later analyze my game. He was honest on what I did well and what I needed to focus on to improve. [Assistant] coach Kenny Payne will be my position coach and he is always giving me great advice about how I can be better. I really liked that about their staff."

Killeya-Jones entered high school at 6-foot, but now stands at 6-11 -- similar to growth spurts experienced by former UK stars and eventual NBA lottery picks Anthony Davis and Willie Cauley-Stein. With a long, athletic frame combined with a multitude of skills, Killeya-Jones has been a tremendous mismatch on the floor throughout his high school career, and his stock rose thanks to strong performances against some of the nation's best competition this spring and summer.