Illinois State transfer Antonio Reeves, one of the best scorers in the portal, committed to Kentucky on Wednesday.
Reeves chose the Wildcats over a final five that included Nebraska, Xavier, Oregon and DePaul.
“I feel my college experience and work habits will have me ready for Kentucky,” Reeves told ESPN. “I realize we are everyone’s big game. At Illinois State, I was one of the leaders and I feel I can lead at Kentucky. I understand the workload, practice, film work and can help explain it to the younger guys.”
Reeves visited Kentucky this month, and coach John Calipari made a clear impression on the 6-foot-6 shooting guard.
“His goal is to win a national championship and that is my goal,” Reeves said. “I want to learn from who I feel is the best and that is Coach Cal and his staff. Coach Cal loves his players, he loves the game, developed pros and won a national championship. That’s what attracted me to Kentucky. Coach Cal is a very relatable guy. Also [assistant] coach Chin Coleman and my dad are really good friends. They went to the same high school at different times so they know each other from the city. I trust him 100 percent. “
A second-team all-Missouri Valley selection this past season, Reeves averaged 20.1 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 39% from the 3-point range. He had two 30-point outings, including a 34-point performance against Valparaiso in February.
Reeves was one of the bigger breakout stars in the mid-major world, going from averaging 7.2 points and 12.4 points as a freshman and sophomore, respectively, to putting up more than 20 per game as a junior. He also improved his 3-point shooting dramatically after making just over 30% his first two years with the Redbirds.
“My decision had nothing to do with NIL. I made my decision based on the basketball and the school I wanted to graduate from,” Reeves said. “Kentucky has a great culture. It’s where I want to be and they are who I want to be with.”
Calipari and Kentucky had plenty of success with transfers last season, led by Wooden Award winner Oscar Tshiebwe. Fellow transfers Kellan Grady, Davion Mintz, Sahvir Wheeler and Jacob Toppin all played key roles last season as well. Reeves should bring size and shooting to the perimeter alongside Wheeler, former Iowa transfer CJ Fredrick and incoming freshman Cason Wallace.