BREAKING: Ugonna Kingsley Onyenso commits to Kentucky

Five-star middle Ugonna Kingsley Onyenso is a Wildcat, selecting Kentucky over Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Tennessee on Monday. The 7-foot, 230-pound prospect out of Nigeria has additionally reclassified and can be part of the UK basketball staff for the upcoming 2022-23 season.

Onyenso introduced his future plans dwell from NBA Academy Africa in Senegal.

“My motive for selecting Kentucky is as a result of I do know I’d match of their type of play, their positionless offense and how briskly they play,” Onyenso advised On3. “I do know I’d match of their system of play as a result of they play my form of recreation.”

By reclassifying to 2022, the five-star middle joins fellow five-star prospects Cason Wallace and Chris Livingston, together with four-star guard Adou Thiero in Kentucky’s recruiting class.

Onyenso is rated because the No. 18 general prospect and No. 3 middle in On3’s participant rankings for 2022. Although uncooked offensively, he is often known as the very best shot-blocker and general defender in all of highschool basketball with super upside.

“What I do greatest is obstructing photographs and getting rebounds,” Onyenso advised KSR in June. “I do know I’m the very best defender within the nation, I’m an incredible shot-blocker. … My recreation is usually serving to my staff defensively. That’s what I do greatest, taking part in good protection and defending the rim. My offense is evolving — I do know that for positive — however when I’m on my court docket, what I do greatest is assist my staff by taking part in nice protection.”

Growing up taking part in soccer in Nigeria, Onyenso did not begin taking part in basketball till he was 12 years outdated. Making his method to the United States and pushing to enhance his recreation, he used Milwaukee Bucks famous person Giannis Antetokounmpo as a task mannequin for his personal journey.

“Giannis, that is form of my mentor. I research him,” Onyenso advised KSR. “We form of have the identical state of affairs, him rising up and myself, I can see the similarities. It’s not even nearly basketball, it is his life off the court docket, as effectively. I research that too. I see myself in his story.”

Now, Onyenso’s story will proceed in Lexington.

At the time of his dedication, Kentucky had a 97.6 p.c probability to land the Putnam Science Academy Standout, per the On3 Recruiting Prediction Machine. Although his finalists included Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Tennessee, Onyenso beforehand obtained scholarship affords from Kansas, LSU, Texas Tech, Illinois, Ole Miss, Georgetown, Georgia, Providence and California, amongst others.

Onyenso joins this system he is had his eyes on from the very starting.

“I’ve been wanting to go to Kentucky all my life, even earlier than coming to the states,” Onyenso advised On3 in June. “I do know it’s a good program for athletes, lots of their guys are professionals. I do know Oscar Tshiebwe can also be from (Africa), it means loads he has had nice success there.”

What will expectations be for the 7-footer in yr one? Min. There was a transparent understanding throughout the recruiting course of that Onyenso could be introduced alongside at his personal tempo, battling towards different elite expertise — specifically Oscar Tshiebwe — in apply and dealing with Kentucky’s power and conditioning program to put together for the 2023-24 season. The protection is there now, however he understands he wants time to develop on the opposite finish of the ground. It’s why he favored the Wildcats’ pitch of persistence and development over speedy taking part in time at different colleges.

Kentucky’s purpose is to assist him flip that potential into manufacturing as a multi-year expertise. Let Tshiebwe, Daimion Collins and Lance Ware anchor the middle place with Onyenso on the bench in yr one. Use him if crucial — or if he is just too good to hold off the ground — however concentrate on getting him prepared for subsequent season.

While Onyenso will likely be becoming a member of this system this yr, he will be unable to be part of the Wildcats on their upcoming journey to the Bahamas, sources inform KSR. Although it would be an incredible alternative to see him in motion and construct early chemistry with teammates, there are just too many hurdles to clear in time earlier than the journey. Instead, the main target is now on getting the 7-foot middle on campus, enrolled in courses, and acclimated to life as a student-athlete.

The excellent news? Onyenso’s lecturers are so as, with sources telling KSR that his reclassification comes with zero hiccups. He will not be ready to be part of the staff within the Bahamas, however will probably be easy crusing from there when the Wildcats return residence and resume apply on the Joe Craft Center.

A deep Kentucky basketball roster simply received deeper.

Welcome to the household.

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