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.
Deniz Kilicli, a 6-foot-9, 250-pound power forward from Beckley (WV) Mountain State, has committed to West Virginia.
“He actually committed on Saturday,” Mountain State coach Rob Fulford said in a phone interview. “West Virginia got a Top 10 player in this one. I think his decision came down to Bob Huggins. He wanted to play for a coach that was going to challenge him and had a track reord of putting post players in the NBA.”
A native of Turkey, Kilicli excelled at the adidas Nations event in Dallas in August, and then received offers from Connecticut, Kentucky, LSU, N.C. State, Oklahoma and UCLA, according to Rivals.
“It came down to West Virginia, UCLA, Texas, N.C. State, UConn and Kentucky,” Fulford said.
Kilicli becomes the fourth player to commit to West Virginia for 2009, joining Danny Jennings, Roscoe Davis and Dalton Pepper.
Kilicli shoots lefty from the inside, but righty on 3-pointers and mid-range shots.
“He is very skilled,” Fulford said. “He’s a very powerful, skilled power forward. He obviously has some work to do, but he’s going to be a very, very good player in the Big East. Once he develops the American style of game, he’s an NBA player. Had he been here for the AAU season in the summer, as far as his overall skill level and what’s out there in this class, he’s a Top 10 player in the country.”
“He is more skilled than Kevin Love,” a UCLA assistant told the Register-Herald of West Virginia. “They’re different type players, but he is more skilled than Kevin.”
Fulford said he overheard that conversation and had this to add: “He basically was saying that they were different but (Kilicli) was more skilled. He’s more athletic. I haven’t seen Kevin Love in person but Deniz is a lot more athletic. He has great hands. He jumps out of the gym. He’s 6-9, 250 and he’s very, very athletic.”
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.