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5-star center Ugonna Kingsley will commit at 2 PM ET on Monday

Jack Pilgrim07/31/22


Article written by:On3 imageJack Pilgrim
Ugonna Kingsley
UK Athletics

Kentucky is expected to add a new piece to its frontcourt on Monday at 2 p.m. ET.

2022 five-star center Ugonna Kingsley Onyenso is set to announce his commitment live with 247Sports on Monday, choosing between Kentucky, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Tennessee. The announcement will be made live on the 247Sports YouTube channel.

The 7-foot center took an official visit to Kentucky to open the NCAA live period on July 20, with John Calipari and Orlando Antigua staying back to close on the prized recruit. How did things go? In a trip that was wildly important for both sides — UK was sacrificing valuable evaluation time, while the five-star center was looking to reclassify and enroll sooner rather than later — it was nothing short of a home run.

Sources tell KSR that Kingsley, now ranked No. 18 overall in On3’s 2022 player rankings, thoroughly enjoyed his time in Lexington and felt at home on campus. All of the boxes regarding facilities, coaching, roster construction and his path to the floor were checked off, with Kentucky’s vision for the standout center aligning with his own.

That vision? Come along at your own pace in year one, battling against Oscar Tshiebwe every day in practice and working with Kentucky’s strength and conditioning program — now led by S&C coach Brady Welsh — to get college-ready. The defense is there now, but Kingsley understands he is raw offensively and will need time to develop on that end of the floor. It’s why he’s favored the Wildcats’ pitch of patience and growth over immediate playing time at other schools.

Kentucky’s goal is to help him turn that potential into production behind the scenes before taking over a prominent role in the frontcourt in 2023-24.

Now, it’s time for a commitment, with Kingsley expected to choose the Wildcats on Monday — the program he’s wanted from the start.

“I’ve been wanting to go to Kentucky all my life, even before coming to the states,” Kingsley told On3 in June. “I don’t really know much about the school yet, but I know it is a good program for athletes, a lot of their guys are pros. I know Oscar Tshiebwe is also from (Africa), it means a lot he has had great success there.”

Kentucky has a 97.2% chance to land the five-star center according to the On3 Recruiting Prediction Machine.

Should he choose the Wildcats, as expected, sources tell KSR he would not be able to join the team on its upcoming trip to the Bahamas. While it’d be a great opportunity to see Kingsley in action and build early chemistry with teammates, there would simply be too many hurdles to clear in time before the trip. Instead, the focus would be on getting him on campus, enrolled in classes, and acclimated to life as a student-athlete.

The good news? Kingsley’s academics are in order, with sources telling KSR that his reclassification is expected to come with zero hiccups. He may not be able to make the trip to the Bahamas, but it will be smooth sailing from there when the Wildcats return home and practice at the Joe Craft Center resumes.

The first step, though, comes Monday afternoon.

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