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.

Discussion from...

Why Kuany Kuany’s Commitment Is Important

4,703 Views | 7 Replies | Last: 1 yr ago by stu
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I don't think Nevada is too concerned about not getting Kuany. They signed Meeks, the teammate of Joel Brown at Brewster.. He is a 6-9 forward whose three point % 44.6. Don't know if Cal considered hm.
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caltagjohnson said:

I don't think Nevada is too concerned about not getting Kuany. They signed Meeks, the teammate of Joel Brown at Brewster.. He is a 6-9 forward whose three point % 44.6. Don't know if Cal considered hm.

And Washington State has an incoming freshman center Nigel John and Smith has added incoming #3 JC PF Daron Henson and Colorado St. transfer PF Deion James...

But I am happy for Kuany and happy we will have another player with some height on the roster.
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I like the optimism of this article, but the analogy here is Cinderella beating out the ugly stepsisters for one of the mice. It's not like we landed the prince. But I really do hope that Kuany turns into a good piece.
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Are these rankings from 247 a player's current ranking or his ranking when he was/is a high school recruit?

No matter. In either case, I now have another player ranking guru site I can distrust.

Harris-Dyson as the the #2 ranked player on the Cal team? OMG. I've seen him play for two years. He is sometimes a decent defender. I can see him ranked a little ahead of Gordon. Both have been injured and neither has shown much. We don't know whether either will ever play unaffected by injuries and how well they will perform. To rank both of them higher than Paris Austin is ridiculous. Austin, whatever his deficiencies did way more for Cal last season than either JHD or Gordon. Without Austin last year, Cal may not have won a single game. And to rank Thorpe, unknown, unseen, and coming off a severe injury nearly 100 points ahead of Kelly, a known quantity with obvious upside (for example, he showed post moves several times, but his teammates almost never gave him the ball, so he could use those moves to score) is very suspect. This team has too many unknowns, too many injured or coming off injury players to warrant ranking them vs the rest of the NCAA players at this point IMO.
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Aside from needing height and more bodies for 2019, it's not a bad thing to start a relationship with a place like Prolific that turns out better players pretty regularly.
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If he had beat out Washington and Oregon then I'd be more impressed. But Wazzu and Nevada for a player who's not in the top 150,,,kinda MEH.

Go Bears!

PS: I hope he is a diamond in the rough!
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With Vanover probably (or possibly) leaving we'll certainly be able to use another big and I think landing one this late is a plus. Sometimes the only difference between a 3-star and a 4-star is how long it might take them to develop. The difference might also reflect a different floor or ceiling. But I suspect most often the difference is just uncertainty in scouting and evaluation.
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