John Calipari and the University of Kentucky just added a key member to the 2023 recruiting class on Friday night.
Robert Dillingham, an extremely talented 5-star goaltender from California, pledged his allegiance to the Cats.
The news broke via ESPN’s Twitter feed on Friday night and came as no surprise. He chose the Cats over Auburn, USC and Louisville.
For months Dillingham’s name has been associated with Kentucky, and it seemed like the two sides were very mutually interested this spring.
It was never a sure thing, but eventually made sense and now the UK has a yard general in the class of 2023 to build a roster.
It’s important to add a centerpiece like Robert Dillingham to the class so early in the cycle.
It’s obvious Coach Calipari and his staff are short on blood this offseason, and that was a big feather in their cap.
In terms of rankings, Dillingham is 13th at 247 Sports, fifth at ESPN, third at On3 and sixth at Rivals. The addition of Dillingham alongside Reed Sheppard now puts Kentucky third overall in the 2023 247 Sports Composite team standings.
What type of player is Robert Dillingham?
He is shrewd with the ball and can effortlessly create space for himself and others offensively while being a hassle on the defensive end.
Basically, he has all the tangible elements you’d want to see from a combo guard, including being known as a deep-sea sniper.
Standing 6 feet 2 inches tall, he has a good length for the sentry post. His 165-pound frame will need to add strength for SEC basketball, but the electric playability makes him less of an immediate concern.
Currently, Dillingham plays for Kanye’s Donda Academy in California, but recently made a trip to Louisville for a stop on Nike’s EYBL Tour.
During his visit, he spoke with Kentucky Sports Radio and made UK fans feel much better about the possibility of adding DJ Wagner yet another 5-star goalie from the Class of 2023.
“I feel like a selfless player and I can play with anyone, adapt to their way of playing. It’s a bucket like me. Playing with Aden (Holloway on Team CP3), it’s the same thing. I let him play hoop and I can play with anyone who’s a smart guard, honestly. … He’s a great player for sure. Me and him together we’re all the two of the point guards, we could play against each other.” Dillingham told KSR’s Jack Pilgrim.
I didn’t get to see Robert Dillingham perform live at the Nike event in Louisville, but I was in the building and the buzz around his name was palpable.
All of the scouting services seem to be very committed to his ability to be an impact player in college and professionally. That includes a comparison to NBA star and Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Darius Garland by 247 Sports’ Jerry Meyer, one of the absolute best in the business.
Here’s Meyer’s reconnaissance report on Dilly.
“Has a slim build but is 6-2 length with long arms. Has a sense of horizontal space control. Has a special sense of space and time on the pitch. Combine this awareness with an elite burst of speed to achieve separation. Very confident sharp shooter from the depths. Has a skilled back jump jumper going to his right. Pulls effectively in the midrange in both directions.
“I love shooting a rider who goes left when he can’t reach the rim. Crafty ball handler and crafty finisher. Has it on a string and can find teammates while penetrating. Lack of size and strength can be detrimental on the boards and defensively. Is nevertheless an active and disruptive defender. Has a huge advantage as a dynamic playmaker who just needs to gain strength and mass as he develops.
Celebrate this one, BBN.
Welcome to the family, Robert Dillingham.
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