Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Illinois fan cheers Kahlil Whitney on Kentucky visit
By ADAM ZAGORIAKahlil Whitney heard from the fans on his official visit to Kentucky.
The Illinois fans that is.
Well, one of them at least.
An Illinois fan who apparently goes by “Big Reece,” has the Twitter handle @mayntainperfect and who lives in Lexington posted a video saying that he shouted out Whitney and his family during the player’s official to Kentucky on Saturday.
“I just seen Kahlil Whitney and his family turn on a golf cart, and they went straight up this street here,” the fan, wearing a Toronto Blue Jays hat, said on the video. “As soon as I seen him, I hollered his name out…I just hollered out I-L-L-I-N-I.”
Kelly Whitney, Kahlil’s father, confirmed the encounter by text, saying the fan said Kahlil’s name and spelled out “I-L-L-I-N-I.” Whitney is an Illinois native and runs with the Chicago-based Mac Irvin Fire on the Nike EYBL circuit.
Other than that, Kelly Whitney said the visit was going “great” and they got a chance to watch Kentucky’s practice for its upcoming Bahamas trip Aug. 6-13.
Whether the Illinois fan’s effort will outweigh the recruiting pitch by John Calipari remains to be seen. Calipari emphasized during the NBA Draft that Kentucky players in the NBA had contracts worth in excess of $1 billion. That’s billion with a “B.”
Calipari recruited Whitney, the No. 5 small forward in the Class of 2019, hard in July and would love to land his second commitment this week, following Kentucky wing Dontaie Allen.
“It was as interested and excited as I’ve seen Coach Calipari about one of our guys,” RC coach Dave Boff, whose team has won three New Jersey Tournament of Champions titles this decade, said of Whitney. “The first time that he had seen him, he was just extremely enthusiastic about Kahlil from the first game that he saw him.”
The 6-foot-6 Whitney recently cut his list to eight schools: Kentucky, Illinois, Louisville, Oregon, Miami, Florida State, Georgetown and SMU.
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.