The Public League basketball landscape changed dramatically on Wednesday as Washington guard DeAndre Liggins gave an oral commitment to Kentucky and announced he would play his senior season at Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire...
“It's time for me to redefine myself and focus on my academics," Liggins said. "It's best to do that at a place like Brewster."
Liggins, who visited Lexington last weekend, is the first player to commit to Kentucky since Deerfield’s Ryan Hogan in 1996.
“It was everything about the place,” Liggins said. “The coaching staff, the players, the facilities and especially the academic support system.”
Brewster is an elite prep school with an annual tuition over $30,000. The school’s basketball program has sent 30 players to Division I schools the past four seasons.
Homewood-Flossmoor’s Andre Walker played at Brewster last season and Thornwood’s Trey Blue will play there this year.
With Liggins and highly-regarded junior Michael Haynes, Washington was expected to compete with Young, Marshall and Farragut for the city title. The Minutemen lost to Simeon in the championship game the past two seasons.
“Liggins is an ideal Billy Gillispie player,” Roy Schmidt of Illinois Prep Bulls-Eye Report said. “He loves athletes who are multidimensional, big guards. Liggins has the capability of playing three positions on the floor.”
Liggins chose the Wildcats over Illinois, Memphis, Kansas and Texas. Most national recruiting services have him ranked among the top 30 players in the country.
“Losing Liggins is not going to break Illinois’ recruiting class,” Schmidt said. “There are quite a few other prospects that their class wil be measured by.
But it shows that Gillispie [a former Illinois assistant coach] is well connected throughout Illinois and will be a recruiting force here.”
Illinois coach Bruce Weber will turn his attention to the three top in-state players remaining: Farragut’s Michael Dunigan, Hales Franciscan’s Matt Humphrey and Iman Shumpert of Oak Park.
According to Schmidt, Gillispie is also seriously in the hunt for Dunigan and Humphrey.