Bol Bol is a gifted 7-3 center who is ranked No. 1 at his position in the 2018 recruiting class. At one time he was thought to be a UK lean until he failed to make the USA team coached by John Calipari last season that included UK freshman P.J. Washington and UK signee Immanuel Quickley.
Calipari did not make the decision to leave Bol off the team, but that move still seemed to cool his interest in Kentucky. Some thought it might pick back up when he did make an official visit to UK, but it looked like he was going to sign with Oregon.
Initially, it looked like Bol did not sign with Oregon during the early signing period as many expected. He also changed prep schools. Instead of playing in California, he’s now at Findlay Prep (Nev.) where the coach is Paul Washington Sr., Kentucky freshman P.J. Washington’s father. Remember that Paul Washington was one of the few last spring who thought Kevin Knox Jr. would fit best at Kentucky and never missed a chance to tell Knox’s parents — or the player — that same thing. Of course, Knox is now at Kentucky.
“At this point I am just excited to get him on my team and I am worried about getting him acclimated to Findlay,” Washington said after Bol’s transfer in mid-November. “But if his family asks me any questions, I feel like I am an expert on Kentucky basketball.”
Turns out the player and family had no questions about Kentucky because Bol did sign with Oregon last week. It just was not announced until Monday.
Bol shined on the Nike summer EYBL when he averaged 24.1 points, 10 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game.
“We just got lucky and had a scholarship available,” Washington said. “Everything fit perfectly. He has a high IQ. He really knows the game. It’s not rocket science. You have got to dribble, pass, block shots, score. He can do a lot of things.
“I obviously knew who he was. I had never had a conversation with him. I had just watched him play. He played against (Washington’s youngest son) Spencer. P.J. played in some camps with him. But I never had any real interactions with him.
“He was in great situation in California. His mother had to get back to Kansas. By leaving California, it opened up where he could go and he just fit with our roster and coaching style.”
Findlay Prep — ranked No. 1 in the nation by USA Today — plays twice in the Marshall County Hoop Fest. It will play Orangeville Prep Dec. 1 at 5:30 CST and then take on Aspire Academy of Louisville and top 2019 prospect Charles Bassey at noon on Dec. 2.
“We will go much deeper and will shoot the ball a lot better this year,” Paul Washington said. “We can go 10-11 deep. It’s exciting to think a can sub a 7-3 player with another 7-3 player.”
The other 7-3 player is Connor Vanover, who will play for Memphis. The roster also includes Arkansas signee Reggie Chaney, who averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds per game for Findlay last year, and 6-7 Spencer Washington (10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists per game last year). Findlay has also added Texas Tech signee Kyler Edwards, a 6-4 shooting guard; Wake Forest signee Jaime Lewis, a 6-3 point guard; San Diego State commit Nathan Mensah, a 6-9 forward; and T.J. Moss, a 6-3 senior combo guard who transferred from Memphis East.
“We have 11 seniors this year,” Paul Washington said. “Bol just adds another dimension for us and gives us even more versatility.”
Spencer Washington, P.J. Washington’s younger brother, had been slowed by an ankle injury but his father/coach said he’s fine and anxious to play in western Kentucky again.
“Fans treated us great last year and we are looking forward to being back,” Paul Washington said.
Bol Bol will play twice for top-ranked Findlay Prep in the Marshall County Hoop Fest. He's the top-rated center in the 2018 recruiting class. (USA Basketball Photo)