Kansas won a high-stakes recruiting battle on Wednesday night as four-star big man Ernest Udeh Jr., a top-30 national talent and the No. 7 center in the Class of 2022 according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, committed live on CBS Sports HQ to the Jayhawks over UCLA.
Udeh made visits to both finalists earlier this month, but ultimately chose KU, which joined the mix relatively recently after becoming one of more than a dozen schools to offer him this summer during a star-turn on the AAU circuit.
“They kept it straight forward with me throughout the whole process. Kansas is very family-oriented and that was very important to my mother,” Udeh said. “Me being here would be impossible without her.”
A 6-foot-10, 230-pound center, Udeh gives Kansas its fourth top-50 commitment and third four-star in the class, joining Gradey Dick and Zuby Ejiofor. The trio is part of a four-man commitment list along with five-star talent MJ Rice.
Two dozen schools offered Udeh during his recruitment process, so his services are in high demand, and with good reason. With a 7-foot-2 wingspan, he’s a high-impact big who could provide instant energy as a rim-runner and rebounder upon his arrival next year. 247Sports’ Jerry Meyer recently evaluated him and had this to say on his skill set:
Has a tremendous physique at 6-10, including a 7-2 wing span. Is a quality athlete for a center, plays with energy and runs rim to rim. Excels at snatching and finishing lob passes. Is also a dangerous offensive rebounder with his pursuit of positioning and good hands. Not a polished offensive player. Has limited shooting range. Tends to play upright and needs to refine his footwork. Does have a go-to right handed jump hook. Not a ball handler and is mechanical in his passing but tends to make the correct read. Is a quality rim protector on defense. Is engaged on that end. Controls space as a rebounder.
It’s been tough sledding for Kansas on the recruiting trail in recent years with the cloud of the NCAA investigation hovering over the program — KU did not land a top-10 class in the 2019, 2020 or 2021 cycles — but 2022 could be a return to normalcy for the program as it steps up its efforts on that front. The class figures to be an important one with the currently constructed roster comprised primarily of experienced transfers and upperclassmen entering the 2021-22 season.