Five-star big man Ugonna Kingsley Onyenso commits to Kentucky | Zagsblog
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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.
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Friday / October 7.
  • Five-star big man Ugonna Kingsley Onyenso commits to Kentucky

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Kentucky made a huge late-season addition for the upcoming season on Monday when Ugonna Kingsley Onyenso committed to the Wildcats after announcing he would reclass to the Class of 2022. 

    “I will be heading to the University of Kentucky,” Kingsley Onyenso told ZAGSBLOG. “I chose Kentucky because of the coaching staff, the family culture and their ability to develop pros.” 

    With his reclassification, Kingsley Onyenso is eligible for the 2023 NBA Draft, which may affect whether he will be a one-and-done candidate or stay at Kentucky for multiple seasons.

    The 6-foot-11 center from Putnam Science (CT) Academy and the NY Jayhawks AAU and Team New England programs had also been in contact with coaches from LSU, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma. He is ranked the No. 9 center in 2022, per 247Sports.com.

    “I will continue to thrive as one of the best rim protectors in the country,” he said. “Coach (JohnCalipari wants me to showcase my offensive skill to complement the fast pace offense he teaches.” 

    Kingsley averaged 13 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks last month at the NBA Academy Camp in Atlanta, and shot 64% from the field in 6 games.

    He joins an incoming class at Kentucky that includes guards Adou Thiero and Cason Wallace and wing Chris Livingston.

    “Coach Cal’s style of play is made for the NBA,” Kingsley Onyenso said. “He teaches the bigs how to make the right reads, helps build confidence by allowing all his players to shoot and handle the ball and lastly, he instills a professional mentality to how we’ll approach the game.” 

    Said Calipari: “What excited me most about Ugonna is he wanted to not only be here but wanted to be here to train with us and learn from guys like Oscar (Tshiebwe) and Lance (Ware) immediately and help us chase a national title. Ugonna has unbelievable natural athleticism and great instincts for a young player. He is going to be able to defend at the rim and is a terrific finisher. Ugonna has only been in the United States since January but has been fully immersed in basketball for several years with his experience at the NBA Academy in Africa. The staff and I are excited to help push him every day in a competitive and focused environment as he continues to improve and become the best version of himself both on and off the floor.”

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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.