John Calipari has coached a long list of elite point guards in the past decade, from Tyreke Evans to Derrick Rose to Eric Bledsoe to Brandon Knight to John Wall. He got his next one on Thursday with De'Aaron Fox committing to Kentucky.
"It felt like a family there," Fox said during his announcement on ESPNU. "When I went on my visit, every fan knew who I was. When I got off the airplane, people greeted me like I had been there my whole life. Getting to know the players and coach Cal; I felt like I had the best relationship, out of any coach that recruited me, with coach Cal. That's what set it apart."
Fox, ranked No. 7 in the ESPN 100, chose the Wildcats over fellow finalists Kansas, LSU and Louisville. Fox took official visits to all four schools, but Kentucky made him a prime target over the summer and seemed like the leader for most of the past few months.
"Kentucky made me a priority from day one," Fox said. "I think that's what the difference was."
A 6-foot-3 point guard from Cypress Lakes (Texas), Fox is most often compared to Wall, a former Kentucky star and current starting point guard of the Washington Wizards. Fox had perhaps the best summer of any guard in the 2016 class. He has game-changing speed with the ball in his hands, but rarely seems out of control. Fox can beat his defender off the dribble or by using a change of speeds, and he's fearless when it comes to finishing in the lane.
He's also arguably the best defensive guard in the 2016 class, pestering his opponent and forcing turnovers. On the Nike EYBL circuit this past spring and summer, Fox led the league in assists (5.4) and steals (2.8) and also ranked in the top 10 in points (16.8).
Fox is an immediate impact player at the next level and will have plenty of other talented guards alongside him in Lexington. Freshman Jamal Murray is a likely lottery pick, but sophomore Tyler Ulis and freshman Isaiah Briscoe could both be back on the perimeter.
Fox's commitment puts Kentucky back in familiar territory: near the top of the recruiting rankings. The Wildcats now have the No. 3 recruiting class in the country, with Fox joining five-star forward Wenyen Gabriel (No. 23) and four-star forward Sacha Killeya-Jones (No. 31) in their 2016 group.
In typical Calipari fashion, though, Kentucky isn't close to done yet. The Wildcats are considered the favorite for No. 1 shooting guard Malik Monk (No. 5), battling with in-state Arkansas. Fox mentioned on ESPNU that he's trying to get Monk "on board with me." They are also in pursuit of five-star big men Bam Adebayo (No. 6), Jarrett Allen (No. 19) and Marques Bolden (No. 20). Monk is expected to wait until the spring to make a decision, and the three frontcourt players are likely 50/50 on making an early commitment.
Since Calipari took over at Kentucky in 2009, the Wildcats have never finished below No. 2 in the national recruiting rankings. He's reeled in four No. 1-ranked recruiting classes and three No. 2-ranked classes.