John Calipari talks Somto Cyril, Boogie Fland after 2024 recruits sign with UK basketball

John Calipari spent the end of the Kentucky basketball offseason hinting that big things were to come from the Wildcats on the recruiting trail.

And so far, he’s delivered.

UK has four commits in the class of 2024: Guards Boogie Fland and Travis Perry (who made a surprise commitment to Kentucky on Sunday afternoon), and centers Somto Cyril and Jayden Quaintance (who committed to UK on Tuesday afternoon).

Fland, Cyril and Quaintance have all already signed their national letters of intent to play at UK, and have been announced as signees by the school. The early signing period began last week and runs through Wednesday.

On Monday afternoon, during a press conference ahead of UK’s Tuesday night game against No. 1 Kansas in Chicago, Calipari discussed the recruitments of both Cyril and Fland and what he expects from them when they arrive in Lexington next year.

Cyril is ranked as the No. 52 overall recruit in the 2024 class by the 247Sports Composite and Fland is ranked as the No. 20 overall recruit on that same list.

Somto Cyril of the Cold Hearts dunks the ball during an Overtime Elite league game on Feb. 21 at OTE Arena in Atlanta. Cyril is a 2024 UK men’s basketball signee.
Somto Cyril of the Cold Hearts dunks the ball during an Overtime Elite league game on Feb. 21 at OTE Arena in Atlanta. Cyril is a 2024 UK men’s basketball signee.

Somto Cyril is UK’s traditional big man commit for 2024

Cyril became the first player from the 2024 class to commit to Kentucky in late June. A 6-foot-10 center who plays in the Atlanta-based Overtime Elite league, Cyril is a strong rebounder and defensive presence with an growing offensive game.

“Somto’s made unbelievable strides,” Calipari said Monday. “He’s one of those bigs, there’s just not many of them anymore, which rim run, blocking shots, big rebounder. Getting better offensively.”

While plenty of chatter this offseason — especially after UK’s frontcourt availability issues emerged — centered around a possible early enrollment for Cyril at Kentucky, he has repeatedly said he plans to finish his final pre-college season at Overtime Elite before arriving in Lexington ahead of the 2024-25 season.

“(Somto) is more of the older school,” Calipari said. “But he’s so strong, and so big, and blocking shots and rebounding. He’s kind of like a unicorn in that way.”

Cyril is viewed as a more traditional big man, while fellow frontcourt commit Quaintance is a versatile big with the ability to operate on the perimeter and initiate offense. Both players are viewed as effective rim protectors.

Boogie Fland, a 2024 UK men’s basketball signee, picked the Wildcats from a small group of finalists that also included Alabama and Indiana.
Boogie Fland, a 2024 UK men’s basketball signee, picked the Wildcats from a small group of finalists that also included Alabama and Indiana.

Boogie Fland to bring dynamic guard play to Kentucky

Fland was the second player to commit to Kentucky from the 2024 recruiting group when he pledged to join the Wildcats in October. A 6-foot-2 guard from just outside New York City, Fland picked UK from a small group of finalists that also included Alabama and Indiana.

“Guys want to play with him,” Calipari said of Fland. “He’s one of those point guards that makes everybody better. He can score and he’s a good shooter. He finds people.”

A dynamic guard who can score from all over the court and put pressure on the rim, Fland figures to slot straight into the UK backcourt, a position group that could see significant turnover this offseason with the potential departures of Rob Dillingham and D.J. Wagner. Fifth-year Antonio Reeves is out of college eligibility after this season.

“What I’ve seen, there are times that he’s off the charts. Like he’ll go to these events, all-star stuff and he ends up being the best player on the court,” Calipari added about Fland. “And my thing is, why isn’t that you all the time? You come here, (and) that’s our challenge … It’s not making shots. It’s not that you don’t ever turn it over. But you play at a pace and at an intensity level. When he’s that, he’s as good as there is.”

UK not done yet with 2024 recruiting

Kentucky’s four-player recruiting class of Cyril, Fland, Perry and Quaintance currently ranks second in the country for 2024, according to 247Sports. Only Duke’s five-player class, which includes generational talent Cooper Flagg, ranks above UK’s class.

And the Wildcats aren’t done yet when it comes to recruiting high school players for next season.

Wing Billy Richmond — whose father played for Calipari at Memphis — has UK as one of his final four schools. Richmond, who plays prep basketball at Camden (New Jersey) High School, which is the same school that produced current UK players Aaron Bradshaw and D.J. Wagner, has a final list of Alabama, Memphis, LSU and Kentucky.

Small forward Karter Knox also has Kentucky in his final four options when it comes to his post-high school playing career. A younger brother of Kevin Knox, the former one-and-done star at UK and the No. 9 overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft, Knox is still considering Kentucky, Louisville, South Florida and the NBA’s G League Ignite.

Knox is teammates with Cyril at Overtime Elite this season, but Knox isn’t expected to commit during the early signing period.

Shooting guard V.J. Edgecombe is also the recipient of a late recruiting push from the Wildcats. He visited Kentucky in late October along with Quaintance.

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