Robert Dillingham picks Kentucky Basketball: Highlights and breakdown

John Calipari and the University of Kentucky just added a key piece to the 2023 recruiting class Friday evening.

Robert Dillingham, an extremely talented 5-star guard from California, has pledged his allegiance to the Cats.

The news was announced via the ESPN Twitter feed on Friday evening and didn’t come as much of a surprise. He selected the Cats over Auburn, USC and Louisville.

For months, Dillingham’s name has been associated with Kentucky, and it seemed as if the two parties were very mutually interested this spring.

It was never a sure thing but ultimately made sense and now UK has a court general in the class of 2023 to build a roster around.

There is significance of adding a centerpiece like Robert Dillingham to the class this early on in the cycle.

It’s been apparent that Coach Calipari and his staff are out for blood this offseason, and this was a big feather in their cap.

Rankings-wise, Dillingham is 13th at 247 Sports, fifth at ESPN, third at On3, and sixth at Rivals. The addition of Dillingham alongside Reed Sheppard now has Kentucky ranked third overall in the 247 Sports Composite 2023 team rankings.

What type of player is Robert Dillingham?

He’s crafty with the ball and can effortlessly create space for himself and others offensively while being pesky on the defensive end.

Basically, he has all the tangibles you would want to see from a combo guard, including being known as a sniper from deep.

Standing 6-foot-2 inches tall, he has good length for the guard position. His 165-pound frame will need to add some strength for SEC basketball but electric play-making ability makes it less of an immediate concern.

Currently, Dillingham plays for Kanye’s Donda Academy in California but recently made a trip to Louisville for a stop on Nike’s EYBL circuit.

During his visit, he spoke to Kentucky Sports Radio and made UK fans feel a lot better about the potential to still add DJ Wagner, another 5-star guard in the class of 2023.

“I feel like I’m an unselfish player and can play with anyone, adapt to how they play. He’s a bucket just like me. Playing with Aden (Holloway on Team CP3), it’s the same thing. I let him hoop, and I can play with anyone who is a smart guard, honestly. …He’s a great player for sure. Me and him together, we’re both playmakers, we could play off each other.” Dillingham told KSR’s Jack Pilgrim.

I didn’t have a chance to see Robert Dillingham play live at the Nike event in Louisville, but I was in the building, and the buzz surrounding his name was palpable.

All scouting services seem to be really high on his ability to be an impact player in college and professionally. That includes a comparison to NBA star and Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Darius Garland by 247 Sports’ Jerry Meyer, one of the absolute best in the business.

Here’s Meyer’s scouting report on Dilly.

“Has a thin build but has length at 6-2 with long arms. Has a feel for controlling horizontal space. Possesses a special feel space and time on the court. Combine this awareness with an elite burst of quickness to gain separation. Highly confident sharp shooter from deep. Has a deft hop back jumper going to his right. Pulls up with effectiveness in the midrange going either direction.

“Loves to shoot a runner going left when can’t get to the rim. Slick ball handler and crafty finisher. Has it on a string and can find teammates while penetrating. Lack of size and strength can be a detriment on the boards and defensively. Is an active and disruptive defender, nonetheless. Has tremendous upside as a dynamic playmaker who just needs to gain strength and mass as he develops.”

Celebrate this one, BBN.

Welcome to the family, Robert Dillingham.

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