5-star Arizona Basketball SF target Will Riley to announce commitment

The Canadian prospect is heavily coveted by the new Kentucky regime and already has three crystal balls for Illinois. Can Tommy Lloyd pull a rabbit out of his hat?
Long Beach State v Arizona
Long Beach State v Arizona / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

5-star Canadian forward prospect Will Riley made an adjustment to his Top 5 just over a week ago and set a date for his commitment: Sunday, June 23.

The day of reckoning is upon us.

Alongside Arizona in Riley's Top 5 are Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, and the New Zealand Breakers of Australia's National Basketball League. Riley visited Illinois on June 3, Kentucky the next day on June 4, and Alabama later the same week on June 6 before releasing his updated list a week later on June 13.

How does Riley fit in at Arizona?

Riley's official visit to Arizona was back in March, and he's had a lot of time to think about Tucson and the Wildcats. Although he's currently a member of the Class of 2025, he's a strong candidate to reclassify to become a part of this year's recruiting cycle. If he reclassifies, Arizona's small forward room suddenly looks quite crowded.

Arizona already has two guys on the roster who can hold down the wing. Returning sophomore KJ Lewis will move back to his natural position and incoming Campbell transfer forward Anthony Dell'Orso was too productive to sit on the bench for too long.

This is a gamble for Riley — especially if he reclassifies — because his best outcome would be as Lewis' backup, and he could find himself as far down the rotation as being the third-string small forward.

Where will Riley land?

During this process, two teams have stood above the rest as the top contenders for Riley: Illinois and Kentucky. Both schools have seen the offseason gut the lineups from last year, and each will return only a handful of key contributors from 2023-24.


Illinois and head coach Brad Underwood have been making serious moves, bringing in former Wildcat starter Kylan Boswell and Notre Dame forward Carey Booth among others. Considering only three players from last year's roster are returning and only Ty Rogers played in more than 30 games, Riley could see a fast track to the court if he joins Illinois regardless of his classification.

Three different crystal ball predictions have been lodged on his 247 Sports page, and they're all for the Illini. He would be the highest-graded recruit in either class for Illinois, but would still have to compete with the returning Rogers and incoming transfers Ben Humrichous, Tre White, and Jake Davis for time at the small forward spot.


Kentucky, now headed by former BYU head coach Mark Pope, is looking to prove that they're still a basketball powerhouse despite John Calipari's move to Arkansas — a school that was replaced by Illinois when Riley updated his Top 5. Kentucky would love to land a top-flight prospect that spurned the Razorbacks to get their first win over Calipari after departing from Lexington.

With star freshmen Rob Dillingham and Reed Sheppard gone and projected as early first-round picks in the 2024 NBA Draft and Antonio Reeves out of eligibility, much of Kentucky's roster has turned over. Incoming transfers Otega Oweh, Andrew Carr, and Jaxson Robinson will all battle it out for the starting small forward spot, leaving another crowd for Riley to try and emerge from.

The takeaway

Being so late in the 2024 recruiting cycle, many roster spots and scholarships have already been doled out. Most coaches have a very clear idea of how they want their lineups to look next season and are already months into their offseason workouts.

Riley didn't do himself many favors by waiting this long to decide whether to reclassify, and both Arizona and Kentucky have multiple options that could comfortably hold down the small forward spot. For this reason, expect Riley to commit to Illinois and Brad Underwood to hit the collegiate court as soon as possible.

ICYMI. ES. How 4-star center commit Emmanuel Stephen fits into the equation. dark

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