By ADAM ZAGORIA
Five-star big man Dereck Lively II of the Westtown (PA) School and Team Final, is poised to announce his college choice at 6 p.m. on Monday.
Lively is expected to choose between Kentucky and Duke, while Penn State and Michigan have also been involved.
His decision could impact which school has the No. 1 overall recruiting class in 2022. Kentucky currently has three five-stars committed and Duke has two.
Ranked the No. 1 center in 2022 by 247Sports.com, Lively averaged 8.4 PPG (56.5 FG%), 6.7 RPG and 3.7 BPG on the EYBL circuit and was named first-team All-Peach Jam after helping Team Final win the title.
Lively visited both Kentucky and Duke in June,
“Kentucky was a great visit,” he told ZAGSBLOG in June. “Their message is really, only pros come here. So if you come here, you’re going to be developed into a pro and you’re going to be living a lifestyle as a pro. Coach Calipari is really going to take me under his wing and just mold me into the player that just blossoms into the NBA.”
Lively is a big fan of former Kentucky and current Lakers big man Anthony Davis.
“We talked about many players, we talked about Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein,” said Lively, who bears a slight resemblance to Cauley-Stein. “I saw film of how they’re going to play me and I could definitely fit into their system.”
Meantime, Duke would love to add Lively to a 2022 class that includes big man Kyle Filipowski and wing Dariq Whitehead.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve watched a specific Duke player, but over the years I’ve watched a variety of Duke players,” he said.
With the Name, Image and Likeness developments coming to college basketball, Lively also stands to make some money, as The New York Times reported. But he said he won’t make a decision on a college based on financial reasons.
“I’m still trying to get my head around that, it really just came out of nowhere with the NFT and paying you about that,” he said. “I’m not paying it that much attention, I really just leave up to my mom. His mom, Kathy Drysdale, is a marketing director in the Penn State athletic department
“It’s not really something I’m going to be looking into that much….The money is not really something I’m going to be making my decision off of because my goal is to get to the league for a one-and-done.”
After next week, six players from the Team Final squad that won Peach Jam will have reclassified or committed to college following Jalen Duren (Memphis), Corey Floyd Jr. (UConn), Justice Williams (LSU) and Jameel Brown (Penn State). Blair Academy guard Otega Oweh is due to announce Friday.
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