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  • Collins and Hickman Earn Naismith All-America Accolades

    Collins a third-team All-American; Hickman earns honorable mention honors

    ATLANTA – Kentucky men’s basketball signees Daimion Collins and Nolan Hickman were among the honorees of the 2021 Jersey Mike’s Naismith National High School All-America teams announced on Tuesday. Collins is one five players selected to the third team, while Hickman was an honorable mention recipient.

    Both players were selected to the McDonald’s All American Game rosters earlier this spring and among a three-player signing class that will once again contend for the nation’s best.

    At 6-foot-9, Collins is explosive and plays above the rim. He finishes with strength and has range offensively. Defensively, Collins is an exceptional shot-blocker who can step out and defend on the perimeter.

    Collins is averaging 35.2 points, 14.4 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 6.2 blocks per game during his senior season. He averaged 24.6 points, 13.7 rebounds and 7.7 blocks per game as a junior at Atlanta High School. The Atlanta, Texas, native was a Third Team All-State selection by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches.

    The five-star prospect is tabbed the No. 10 overall player in the 2021 class by Rivals and 247 Sports. He’s ranked as the No. 17 overall player by ESPN.

    “I’m really excited for Daimion and his family to join our program,” Calipari said at the time of the signing. “Daimion is an incredible young man with a bright future – someone who has only begun to realize just how good he can be. Our fans know I don’t like to make comparisons to our other guys, but Daimion has that type of length, the athleticism and the versatility that have separated our players from others. He wanted to be pushed and to be in a competitive environment to help him reach his full potential. The staff and I cannot wait to help him grow.”

    At 6-2, Hickman also adds a 6-8 wingspan that gives him length to guard a number of positions. A physical player, the Seattle native owns a versatile offensive game and his tenacity makes him a tough defender as well. As a senior, Hickman is averaging 16.6 points per game, 5.3 assists, 3.9 rebounds and is making 38.6% of his shots from 3-point range.

    Hickman averaged 17.3 points, 3.4 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game for Eastside Catholic last season. He also connected on 38% of his 3-point field goals.

    A First Team All-State selection by Scorebook and a Class 3A Associated Press First Team honoree, Hickman will play his final high school season with Wasatch Academy. Hickman is rated as high as the No. 28 overall player by ESPN. 247 Sports has him ranked at No. 30 and Rivals tabs him at No. 39 overall.

    “I had the chance to see a lot of Nolan in the year or so before the pandemic hit,” Calipari said this fall. “I am really excited about his ability to play the point guard position. He has speed, vision and scoring ability. One of the best things about Nolan is his competitive spirit. He plays to win, which our best guards I’ve coached do. Nolan is someone who can play multiple positions in the backcourt, who can fly in transition, and most importantly can create for himself and his teammates. Our guys will love playing with Nolan as he is a team-first player who is incredibly mature.”

    UK’s current signing haul, which also includes Bryce Hopkins, have all inked national letters of intent with UK. All three players are consensus four- or five-star prospects and all are ranked in the top 50 by at least one major national recruiting service. ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports currently rank UK’s class No. 1.

    In every season in the Calipari era, the Wildcats have signed a top-three recruiting class according to the Recruiting Services Consensus Index, which tallies major recruiting rankings and plugs them into a formula to calculate a consensus ranking. With the fall additions, Kentucky has signed 61 top-50 recruits, 47 top-25 players and 26 top-10 players (according to Rivals) in what will now be Calipari's 13 recruiting classes at Kentucky.

    UK can only comment on prospects who have signed official paperwork with the university. The spring signing period begins April 14.

    The current Wildcats return to action on Thursday when they begin play at the Southeastern Conference Tournament. UK will take on Mississippi State at noon p.m. ET inside Bridgestone Arena. The game will air live on SEC Network.