Top 10 senior Cason Wallace announced his commitment to Kentucky on Sunday, giving coach John Calipari and the Wildcats the No. 1 recruiting class in the country.
Wallace chose Kentucky over a final list that included Tennessee, Texas and Texas-San Antonio, where his brother, Keaton, was a four-year starter. His recruitment took several twists and turns in the summer, with Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas all looking like the potential favorite at different points along the way.
But the Wildcats made Wallace their point guard priority and have been the leader for most of the last two months.
“Watching Kentucky growing up, they have always been my dream school,” Wallace told ESPN. “The atmosphere of the entire program, from staff to players and fans, had energy.”
Calipari has now brought in 14 five-star point guards since taking over at Kentucky in 2009. He landed a five-star at the position in all but two recruiting classes during that span, and also landed two five-star point guards in 2018.
That track record stood out to Wallace.
“I want to play in the NBA someday. Coach Cal’s resume speaks for itself and for having guys in the league,” Wallace said. “I spoke with Shai-Gilgeous Alexander and he enjoyed his experience. He said it would be hard but it would be worth it. Coach Cal sees me as a guard who can play anywhere on the floor.
“For such a high-profile coach he is a very genuine person. Very down to earth. There were no promises, no sugarcoating and no fluff when he talked.”
A 6-foot-3 prospect from Richardson High School (Texas), Wallace is ranked No. 9 overall in the ESPN 100 and the No. 2 point guard in the class. In 13 games with the Pro Skills grassroots program on the Nike EYBL circuit in July, he averaged 14.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists, shooting 54.4% from inside the arc and 35.2% from 3-point range.
Wallace is a true combo guard and two-way contributor because he can be effective on or off the ball and also defends. As a scoring guard, he is productive. His jumper is solid and he gets into the paint with a strong ability to finish. As a facilitator, he can handle the ball on the break and find the open man with regularity. He has good vision and is effective with his drive-and-kick game. Ownership of the offense is the next step.
Wallace is also a high-end defender who uses his grit and quickness to lock down opposing ball-handlers or chase shooters off screens. He has quick hands and is a positional defender with instincts. Wallace also plays with toughness and focus.
With Wallace in the fold, Kentucky now has four five-star recruits in the 2022 class. Top-ranked prospect Shaedon Sharpe is the headliner, with small forward Chris Livingston (No. 12) and Skyy Clark (No. 16) also in the quartet. Wallace’s pledge pushes Kentucky past Duke and Arkansas at the top of the rankings.
If Kentucky finishes with the No. 1 class, it would be Calipari’s seventh top-ranked class since joining the Wildcats. They also finished with the No. 1 class in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016 and 2020.
Wallace’s commitment also means every five-star prospect in the 2022 class is already committed, with the early signing period still a few days away. The top available player in the ESPN 100 is now No. 21 Eric Dailey Jr.