The hiring of Ron “Chin” Coleman continues to look like an excellent move early on by head coach John Calipari.
When he was brought on board, Coach Coleman’s ties to high-level recruits were expected to be his strong suit. Just a month into his tenure as a Kentucky Wildcat assistant coach, we’re starting to learn that he might have even more connections than we thought.
On Wednesday, we talked about Coach Coleman’s longstanding relationship with class of 2023 five-star wing J.J. Taylor, a native of Chicago who was being heavily recruited by Coleman when he was on the Illinois staff. KSR’s Brandon Ramsey reported Thursday morning that another five-star prospect, Jalen Washington from the class of 2022 who also holds an Illinois offer, is likewise hearing from Coleman and Kentucky.
Now you can go ahead and add Baye Fall to the list of players with Illinois offers who are now being recruited by Coleman to come to Kentucky.
But who is Baye Fall?
Ranked by 247 Sports Composite Score as the 9th best player from the class of 2023 with five-star status, Fall is a 6-foot-10, 205-pound mobile big man from Parker, CO. He’s not your prototypical center though. Fall is lanky, stretches the floor, and is capable of bringing the ball up the court. The top-ranked prospect out of Colorado was down in Las Vegas this past week for the Pangos All-American Camp, where KSR made the trip to learn more about Fall.
Like J.J. Taylor, Fall was too named co-MVP of the Top 30 Cream of the Crop All-Star Game, which concluded the entire three-day event with a showcase of the top players from the camp. In the four games running up to the finale, Fall averaged 15.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per outing on 57.4 percent shooting from the floor (27-47) and 75 percent from the free-throw line.
Fall is one of the more interesting prospects in high school hoops. He’s still raw in a handful of areas, but the potential oozes with every dribble move and shot in the post. Fall’s length allows him to block shots even if he’s out of position while also making it easier to shoot over the top of defenders. He’s been working on his jumpshot over the course of the pandemic, he told KSR, and the rhythm with which the ball comes out of his hands indicates it’ll be a confident part of his game moving into the second half of his high school career.
“My shot,” Fall told KSR about what he’s been working on the most lately. “Just because I’m known for defense and all that. I can get it going on offense too, just showing my touch, my shot, the threes and all that, and my motor because I improved a little bit on that–running up and down, catching alley-oops on the other end.”
His instincts on defense are what will stick out to you first, and then he’ll tantalize you with the ability to get into the paint and shot from range. Fall will absolutely need to put on some weight in order to improve his finishing at the rim, but his broad frame is a good sign that he can fill out down the road.
Now let’s get into some recruitment talk.
As mentioned at the top of this article, Coach Coleman is the one leading the recruitment for Fall. He received his offer from Coach Coleman and the Fighting Illini staff back on Nov. 7. Fall doesn’t currently hold a scholarship offer from Kentucky, but the interest has picked up ever since Coleman joined the program. So far, the communication between both parties has been encouraging.
“It’s pretty good so far,” Fall said about his relationship with Kentucky.” They’re talking to my dad because they can’t talk to me directly like that and I’ve been busy doing school. There’s this one coach (Coleman) who was at Illinois who just recently got there, so he’s the one recruiting me so far and we got a good relationship. That’s the one who offered me (at Illinois).”
Illinois is hardly the only big-name school with feelers out on Fall, either. He’s also picked up offers from Arizona, Baylor, Georgetown, Georgia, Kansas, Memphis, Minnesota, and Texas A&M. But Kentucky is one of the few that stands out to him.
“It’s one of the bigger schools in history and they just take care of you, help you get to the pros quick,” Fall added. “So it’s a pretty good option for me.”
There has been some behind-the-scenes chatter about Fall skipping the college route completely, although he was quick to say that is not exactly the case.
“For now I’m not thinking that,” Fall said about possibly taking the professional route instead of college. “But people are talking about that a lot about me that I’m not going to college. Some colleges called my dad to tell him that, tell him we have high interest but we don’t think he’s going to college but I don’t know yet. I just do what’s best for me and what’s best for my family.”
For now, Fall is focusing on improving his game and putting on a show in front of coaches and scouts this summer. The Pangos event was one of his first camps back from the year-plus long layoff. No matter where he ultimately lands, Baye Fall is going to be a player to watch for the future of basketball.