AUGUSTA, Ga. — Louis King went to Egypt with two goals: win a gold medal with Team USA in the FIBA U19 World Cup and impress coach John Calipari enough to earn a Kentucky scholarship offer. He and the Americans fell short of the first, but King might yet achieve the second.
“I impressed [Calipari] a lot,” King told SEC Country on Thursday. “He said I was one of the best recruits in the 2018 class and that he wanted to start off the 2018 class with me as a Kentucky commit.”
King, a 5-star small forward ranked the No. 15 overall prospect in the Class of 2018 by the 247Sports composite, averaged 13.8 points, 9.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.6 steals per 40 minutes for Calipari and Team USA in Cairo. But where did he and the Cats’ coach leave the scholarship conversation?
“He should be offering me soon,” King said. “We talked a lot in Egypt. So, whenever he makes his mind up is fine. It’s basically there, but he just wants to see me a little bit more.”
Kentucky’s coaching staff will have that opportunity during the three-week July recruiting period that just started. King and 5-star AAU teammate Cameron Reddish’s squad failed to make Nike’s championship tournament, Peach Jam, but they’re playing in the nearby Peach Invitational.
Reddish, who is already one of the Wildcats’ top targets and also played for Team USA, said on Thursday it’s “just a matter of time” until King gets that offer. On a talented team featuring eight college players and only four high school players, King played major minutes off the bench.
“So, [Calipari] must’ve liked something in me,” he said.
And what was that?
“Rebounding, getting my guys open and scoring the ball,” King said. “I think the best thing I did on the court was defense.”
And the best thing he did off the court?
“Exploring the pyramids with Coach Cal,” he said. “It was a great experience. Coach Cal, he taught us a lot and he wanted us to come back and show our teammates how we learned from him and distribute — on the court and off the court — what we learned.”
Oh, and what happens if that Kentucky offer finally comes? Will that vault the Wildcats to No. 1 on the list of schools he’s considering?
“Of course,” said King, who is being pursued by Kansas, Indiana, Oregon, Syracuse, Connecticut, North Carolina State, Maryland and Seton Hall.
He plans to narrow his list soon and hasn’t set up any official visits yet. But he might not need any if Calipari comes through with an offer he can’t refuse.