Kentucky Basketball: Cason Wallace commit proves Cal has the magic back

John Calipari
John Calipari /

Kentucky basketball got a huge late-night commitment Sunday when Cason Wallace announced at an unusually late time that he would become a Wildcat.

But it was fitting that he finished celebrating his 18th birthday with the announcement he would be attending his dream school.

He talked about that with Sports Illustrated.

"“I remember the exact moment that I knew that it was Kentucky; I was sitting down talking to my parents going over pros and cons and it just became more and more obvious that Kentucky was the clear choice. My parents just looked at me and said, “This is what you’ve dreamed of, they’ve got all of it; why not make your dreams a reality. That was it!”"

While the Kentucky football team suffered a blow on Saturday when they lost to Tennessee, John Calipari stymied much of the Orange fan enthusiasm and Coach Rick Barnes by stealing their prized basketball target in Wallace.

Kentucky basketball now has the No. 1 ranked 2022 class with Wallace

Heavily projected that Wallace would be a Vol until Cal offered the Richardson, Texas combo guard back in July, his switch to the Wildcats began. He also had been courted by UTSA and Texas in his home state. UTSA was where his brother Keaton played and starred for 4 seasons so that is why the Roadrunners were on the list.

So the Calipari magic is back and stronger than ever giving Kentucky the nation’s top recruiting class by landing 3 of the top-10 players in the class of 2022.

Big Blue had already locked in No. 1 overall player in the class in Shaedon Sharpe along with the No. 6 overall player in Chris Livingston. They also have the No. 16 player in Skye Clarke.

Wallace said it will be nice to play with and not against the three.

"“It’s crazy to be in a class with Shaedon (Sharpe), Skyy (Clark) and Chris (Livingston) because I’ve played against all of them for years on the circuit. Now, we’ll be together against other people, and I know that’s gonna be tough because they’re all tough to play against.”"

However, it was assistant coach Jai Lucas who did the heavy talking and persuading to get Wallace to decide on Lexington.

The early signing period begins next week and unless something unseats the commitments then UK indeed has the No 1 class ahead of Duke and Arkansas and Cal will now have had the top class in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2020, and 2022.

Now with Wallace coming on board, it means Calipari has now signed 14 five-star point guards since he arrived in 2009.

What Kentucky fans will be most excited about is that Calipari will finally once again have that lock-down defender in Wallace.

While there is little doubt he can play at either guard spot on offense as the game is evolving to positionless players, it’s his defensive grit and determination that fuels players around him.

During the Pro Skills grassroots program on the Nike EYBL circuit in July, he pumped in an average of 14.6 points per game, grabbed 6.8 rebounds, and dished out 4.5 assists, while connecting on 54.4 percent of his shots inside the arc and a sweet 35.2-percent from 3-point range.

He likes to push the ball up the court looking for the open man or can easily just pop and score or take it to the basket and finish.

"“The coaches talked to me about being a position-less player, and a guy that can play both guard positions and just stay in attack mode on both ends of the floor. I love that role. I like the freedom of it.”"

But what Calipari will like and tell you it always begins with defense.

He is tenacious on the ball and an off-the-ball defender who can pick a player’s pocket and push the ball up the floor. What a welcome sight that would be.

He also got some good advice from former Wildcat Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who told him it would be hard work, but in the end, it would be worth it.

After exhibition wins over Kentucky Wesleyan and Miles College, Kentucky basketball season tips off on Tuesday night so I am sure Wallace will be watching his future dream school take on Duke.

Next. Kentucky given tough test by Miles. dark