Photo by © Jay Biggerstaff | 2018 Jan 10
Cal Basketball

Why Kuany Kuany’s Commitment Is Important

May 13, 2019

Last Thursday (May 9), Kuany Kuany, a Kenyan-born, Australian-raised, and Napa-based 6-10 forward committed to Cal’s men's hoops team, becoming the first official commitment for Mark Fox and his new staff. By recruiting metrics, it wasn’t a spectacular get — Kuany is ranked 290 for the Class of 2019 in 247 Sport’s composite ranking — but it was important because Fox pitched a program in dire straights and came out on top against two regional competitors.

Kuany visited Washington State and Nevada, but Cal and Mark Fox got the final visit on May 1 and beat out two programs also with new coaches at a transition point. “I’m going to California,” Kuany told 247 Sports after committing to Cal. “I feel like I fit in there and Mark Fox is a really good coach.”

Nevada finished 17th in KenPom’s rankings last year and finished 29-5 after losing to Florida in the first round of the NCAA Tourney as a 10-seed. Washington State, on the other hand, was a doormat in the Pac-12 akin to Cal after an 11-21 (4-14) season. Both Nevada and Wazzu have rosters a bit in flux and playing time to offer. Fox’s ability to out-recruit Steve Alford at Nevada and Wazzu’s Kyle Smith is a good sign.

There’s not a ton of film on Kuany available but from what is available, he shows a nice shooting touch from outside and the ability to run the floor a bit. Kuany appeared in 12 games this past season on a loaded Prolific Prep team, averaging 9.9 points per game and 5.2 rebounds. However, he largely played behind seven-footer Ibrahima Diallo, who committed to Ohio State and averaged a double-double during the season. Watching game film against Spire Academy and Fresno International, there is a clear difference in Kuany’s ability when playing against increased competition. He often had his way against Fresno International but didn’t see much action against Spire, despite Prolific Preps dismantling of Spire by a few dozen points.

Depending on the level of optimism, Kuany could develop into a solid foundational piece to a Mark Fox rebuild or be overwhelmed by other players and teams in the Pac-12 and not develop much past a role player. Remember, Connor Vanover was the 355 ranked player coming out of last year’s class and ended up being one of the brightest spots towards the end of this past season.

Assuming Vanover transfers after he finishes finals as expected, Cal will currently have nine scholarship players. With a max of 13, Fox and crew will have four to either pocket for the 2020 recruiting cycle or try to add some last minute additions. To be sure, Fox has been quiet on the recruiting front. Offers have gone out to 2020 players, but there hasn’t been much development on the 2019 class beyond Kuany.

It’s unclear if any additions will be made before now and when school starts next fall, but as of now, the bones of the rebuild look intriguing. The roster is likely in a talent deficit from the rest of the Pac-12 but no doubt Fox will get them to compete and play hard defense. They’ll be easy to root for, albeit probably tough to watch at times.

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