This new addition to Kentucky will have 'massive impact' on and off the court

Mark Pope has been recruiting Kerr Kriisa since high school and finally landed his point guard -- someone he says will have a 'massive impact' on and off the floor this year.
Jan 9, 2024; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers guard Kerr Kriisa (3)
Jan 9, 2024; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers guard Kerr Kriisa (3) / Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Pope recruited Kerr Kriisa out of high school but didn't land him. He recruited him last summer after Kriisa transferred from Arizona to West Virginia and didn't land him. But once Kriisa hit the portal this offseason, there was almost an immediate connection between Pope and Kriisa -- a duo that obviously knew each other very well.

Kriisa's name flew under-the-radar during his time in the portal, however. And, with Kentucky hosting a half dozen recruits on campus over a week span, there was attention elsewhere ... at least outwardly.

When Kriisa announced his commitment to Kentucky this week, it was a full circle moment for Pope and his new point guard.

"I feel like I’ve been recruiting him for the last five or six years since he was a prep player," Pope said when Kriisa signed. "He is one of the most experienced guards in all of college basketball."

Experienced he is. Kriisa has played in 99 games and started 93 in four seasons. He has played in three NCAA Tournament games, reaching one Sweet Sixteen. He was also critical to two Pac-12 Championships while at Arizona.

During a season that was nowhere near the national spotlight at West Virginia, Kriisa had his best year to date. Kriisa averaged a career-high 11.0 points per game while shooting a career-high 42.9 percent from the field. Kriisa also shot 42.4 percent on 2.7 made 3s per game -- both career-bests as well. 

After a tough and disapointing way to end his Arizona career two years ago, being out of the spotlight looks to be the best thing for him.

Now, Kriisa will be back in the spotlight as the point guard for Kentucky and will have a 'massive impact' on the Cats this year as one of the most important commits for Pope up to this point.

“Kerr Kriisa is one of the best shooters in the country,” Pope said.  "... Kerr played on some great Arizona teams and then, last year, in the hallowed halls of West Virginia. He has a competitive spirit that overflows in every way conceivable. Kerr will have a massive impact on our team on the court and in the locker room. Kentucky fans are going to love his bold personality.”

Kriisa brings talent, yes. But, it also seems like he may have a bit of a chip on his shoulder to finish off his career the right way, with the coach that always wanted him.