Cats Get Commitment From Youngster

Billy Gillispie and the Kentucky Wildcats are on a roll. Their recent recruiting success continued on Thursday with a commitment from an 8th grader.

Michael Avery has yet to pick his future high school, however the 6-foot-4 wing knows exactly where he wants to play his college basketball – at the University of Kentucky.

Over the past seven days Avery's recruitment has taken a twist. During a visit to Culver (Ind.) Academy, Michael and his father, Howard, met Mark Adams, who coaches one of the Indiana Elite 15's teams and was asked to play with them the following weekend.

So Avery, of Ascension Lutheran middle school, opted to play with Indiana Elite at the LeBron James Shooting Stars Classic and was spotted by Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie during one his games.

"[Gillispie] couldn't talk to me in the game or at the event, but I had heard that he liked my kids play," Howard Avery said. "So I took it upon myself to find a phone number and contact him. I called him a couple of times over the weekend, but I didn't get a response, so I figured he wasn't interested."

"Then I figured on Monday morning I would give him one more try and he picked up the phone. He said that he definitely was interested and that he liked Michael's game so much that he wanted to offer him a scholarship to Kentucky."

Upon getting the offer, Avery and his family thought about the decision for a few days and on Thursday morning they called Gillispie and his staff to inform them that he wanted to give Kentucky a verbal commitment.

"We thought about the option and considered everything else in terms of recruiting and going through the process because it was so, so early for Michael," the elder Avery said. "But it's a dream school for him. That's where he wanted to play."

"It's a great school," he continued. "They have a great coach and he spotted Michael's game without even knowing who he was and I just think the world of that."

Avery's main travel team is Belmont Shore out of California. He was on Dinos Trigonis' team that won the Las Vegas Easter Classic. Trigonis said he's a talented wing that can really play.

"He's a 6-4 skilled wing player that has deep range on his shot and he's a very underrated passer," Trigonis said.

"His IQ is very, very good," Avery added. "His vision is good. He's a good passer. He's not a selfish player and is very unselfish, but he can score if he needs too. He's a pretty good shooter."

Avery will either attend Culver Academy or Encino (Calif.) Crespi Carmelite next season for high school.

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