Adou Thiero UK basketball

From Unranked to Big Blue Nation in Just One year: Meet Adou Thiero

Adou Thiero is the last freshman to commit to Kentucky’s 2022 recruiting class – a 6’5” Point Guard from Leetsdale, Pennsylvania. Thiero is your prototypical “late-bloomer.” Entering his senior year of high school, Thiero was unranked by every single recruiting service, had never played AAU basketball in high school, and stood at just about 5’11”. Fast forward, and he’s committed to the University of Kentucky (after turning down offers from Ohio State and Indiana), and about six inches taller. How did all of this happen?

The “late-bloomer”

For starters, let’s talk about the season Thiero had. In his senior campaign, he averaged 23 points, 10 assists, and 8 rebounds, winning Pennsylvania Boys Basketball Player of the Year in the process. Now for the intriguing part – Thiero grew a whopping six inches in the past year  –  from 5’11” to 6’5” in just a couple of months. We were being quite literal when we said that he was a “late-bloomer”. 

And you know what’s even crazier? Doctors have said Thiero’s growth plates are wide open. They anticipate that by the beginning of his sophomore year in the 2023-24 season, Thiero should be between 6’8” – 6’9”. A point guard at that height, with his athleticism and ball-handling skills, would be one of the most talented players in college basketball. 

John Calipari is truly a genius for seeing the potential in this player. Perhaps it’s because Thiero is the son of Almamy Thiero, who played for John Calipari at Memphis from 2002-2005. He also briefly played high school ball at Louisville Moore.

Kentucky insider Jack Pilgrim gave his two cents on Thiero after he announced his commitment: 

“Adou Thiero is a late bloomer, growing over six inches up to 6’5” in the past year alone. He plays a physical brand of basketball, getting downhill and embracing contact around the basket, resulting in consistent free-throw opportunities. He’s also controlled in the half-court and makes the right play, rarely rushing,” Pilgrim said. “Defensively, he’s long and active, a strong shot-blocker and a threat in the passing lanes. He also rebounds extremely well for his size. Thiero is a multi-year project piece, but one with a lot of upside. As he continues to grow and fill out, the production will follow.”

Calipari-era Projects

There have been so many players during the Calipari-era who were multi-year projects that grew from good to great. Darius Miller, Dominique Hawkins, Derek Willis, and Nick Richards are all names that come to mind. And when you think of growth spurts, nobody can ever forget Anthony Davis, who went from an unranked 6’2” Point Guard his sophomore year of high school to a 6’10” PF and the #1 player in the class of 2011 by his senior year. While it would be a very large stretch to say that Thiero could make the type of jump that Wildcat legend AD did, you can see how impactful a growth spurt of this nature is on a player who is both athletic and skilled – which Thiero certainly is.

As for this upcoming year, expect Thiero’s minutes to be significantly limited. With Sahvir Wheeler, Cason Wallace, CJ Frederick, and Antonio Reeves all taking up minutes at the guard spot, Thiero just isn’t in the position yet to log any premier game-time. However, he will certainly get after it in practices, using his size and length to really challenge his teammates on defense – ultimately improving his skills and becoming prepared for the day he breaks into the starting rotation. Whether he’s here for two years or four, Thiero could end up being one of the more unbelievable stories in Kentucky basketball history. 

We are glad to have him as a part of the Big Blue Nation and can’t wait to watch him play!