One of the nation’s most talented guard prospects is making the long trip from Texas to Kentucky later this month.
Keyonte George, a five-star shooting guard from the class of 2022 out of Lewisville, TX, was in attendance for the Pangos All-American Camp that took place in Las Vegas from June 6-8. KSR was able to watch him live and in person for the first time before catching up with the top-ranked player from Texas later on. In our conversation, George explained that he has an upcoming visit to the University of Kentucky at the end of the month. He also added that he holds an offer from the Wildcats.
Here’s more of what KSR learned about George from the thrilling three-day camp.
Going into the event, which featured over 100 of the top high school players from across the country regardless of age, I was under the impression that George was mostly a score-first guard who could pour in points from all three areas of the court. And while George proved that to be correct as the days went along, he also showed to be much, much more than that. If anything, he should be labeled as a floor general first who also knows how to get buckets at will. His ability to run the offense and find his teammates with flashy–yet on-target–passes was second-to-none. Recruiting services have him tabbed as a shooting guard, but he could easily fill in as a starting point guard on a high-level college team.
George has all the makings of a pure point guard if he wishes to play that position. He understands that it takes a well-rounded player who can also empower his teammates verbally to take that next step. He’s even added some post moves to his game, which he wasted no time showing off at the Pangos Camp.
— Who’s Next (@WhosNextHS) June 8, 2021
“The thing I’ve been working on is a lot of post-work,” George told KSR. “If I got a little guy on me or same height, working on different stuff. Being more of an efficient scorer. Being a shot-maker not just shooting shots. Passing to get an assist instead of just passing. Being a vocal leader so I can lead high-level guys and they’ll listen to me. But at the same time, we’ll all listen to each other. We all love to compete and we’re all high-level guys so that’s what really what I’m trying to show the most, that I can play with anybody.”
For anyone in George’s position, the NBA is always the intention. The shine of Kentucky’s reputation as a program that produces pros has already rubbed off on him, too. It also didn’t hurt that last season’s NBA Playoffs were loaded with former Wildcats down in the Orlando bubble.
“The whole goal is to be an NBA player,” George said. “That’s what I talk to a couple of people about–staying in the league. He (Calipari) produces a lot of people. I seen some when it was the bubble, he had a lot of people from Kentucky in the bubble. Just taking that type of stuff into consideration. Asking different guys how he is and stuff like that, they all got good stuff about him. So to see him produce that many pros, it’s something that I really look at a lot.”
George explained that he doesn’t foresee himself taking the professional route right out of high school, either, although the idea is obviously tempting. When he dropped his top list of schools on May 20, there were only five options in the race: Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas, Kansas, and Kentucky. George went on his official trip to see the Longhorns right before he came to Vegas with visits to Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Kentucky coming up by the end of June.
“I take my visit to Baylor next week on Monday and then hopefully get up to Oklahoma State and then after that I go to Kentucky at the end of the month. End of June,” George explained. “So I’m gonna get up there, visit campus on my official and then come back home and talk everything out with my family about all my visits and then hopefully commit before school starts.”
— UNO? (@Keyontekg1) May 20, 2021
George has already built a sound relationship with Wildcat assistant coach Jai Lucas that dates back to Lucas’ time working at Texas. They’ve continued that communication once Lucas left for Kentucky and still talk regularly.
“He (Coach Lucas) came back to a couple of AAU games back when we had a live period and he hit me,” George said. “He offered me at Texas and after that just building a great relationship with him, basketball or not, just talking to him, having different conversations. It just carried over when he came to Kentucky.
“He’s from my home state, I think he’s from Houston. Right up the road from me so we click. Everybody from Texas really click together. Just having different conversations with him, having a feel for him, having a feel for me. Just building the relationship and it keeps carrying on. Especially when you talk with somebody for so long and at that point you just keep talking to them, basketball or not.”
Coach Lucas is leading the way with George’s recruitment, but Calipari is slowly getting more and more involved.
“We’re getting there,” George said about his budding relationship with Calipari. “I talk to him on Zoom, telling me different things. He asks me deep questions and then asks me a question that leads to another question. So it really got me thinking, that’s something I really love: get me thinking. Because you know he’s gonna coach me hard and keep me accountable. Different little things like that.”
Calipari’s pitch to George has been that he could be a multi-positional player–one who plays the one, two, and three. At 6-foot-4, 185 pounds, George has the frame to slide in as a “small-ball” three next to two other guards. He could also run the point position or play off-ball next to the lead ball handler.
“He (Calipari) just explained to me how they have players,” George added. “You can put me at the one, two, three, you can’t really put a number next to it. Somebody will bring it up, then he’ll bring it up or I’ll bring it up, so that’s really the main thing he’s been preaching on and how he plays the game of basketball at Kentucky.”
Kentucky already has one guard target locked up and committed from the class of 2022, fellow five-star prospect Skyy Clark. Add Keyonte George into the mix and the Wildcats could be looking at one of the best backcourt duos in college basketball in the near future.