Dillon Wilhite, a 6-foot-9, 240-pound senior forward from Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego, California, will be joining the Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball team as a preferred walk-on.
Wilhite, who was recruited by Army, Navy, Air Force, Boston University and others, announced his commitment to KU on Saturday night on Twitter. KU coach Bill Self confirmed the commitment to The Star on Sunday.
“I’m excited and blessed to announce I will be joining the University of Kansas Jayhawk family where I will be continuing my basketball and academic career! Thank you to my family, friends, coaches, and teammates for supporting me along the way! Rock Chalk!” Wilhite wrote Saturday night on Twitter.
Dillon Wilhite’s dad, Brad Wilhite, is a former golfer at TCU and Lawrence High School. Wilhite’s sisters, Peyton and Brennan, play volleyball at Georgetown. Dillon Wilhite’s grandmother, Joanie Stephens, has worked in the KU men’s basketball office for many years.
“I always wanted to be a Jayhawk,” Wilhite, who is averaging 18 points and 12 rebounds for 11-1 Cathedral Catholic (the pandemic-delayed season is ongoing) said Sunday in a phone interview. “I grew up going to Kansas games and went to coach Self’s camp every summer (for four years). My dad’s whole family is from there. My grandma has worked in the athletic department for over 40 years.”
Wilhite, who said through the years he’s most enjoyed watching “the Morris twins, Cole Aldrich and Thomas Robinson,” describes himself as somebody who “has size, is physical and tough. I rebound the ball well, run the floor and use my body well and will do everything I can to contribute to the team.”
Cathedral Catholic basketball coach Will Cunningham said he believes Wilhite will be a solid addition to KU’s program.
“He is a good player, a hard worker who is sound fundamentally, good around the basket. He has been a pleasure to coach. He’s gotten better every year,” Cunningham said.
“I think anybody who comes into a program, even walking on, you are hoping you will get a chance. Practicing against guys with quote, unquote, labels on them will be good for him. He’ll see where he matches up. I think it’ll be good for him and good for the team also,” Cunningham added. “I think he’ll do well. He has ties to the area with family which I think is good as well.
“Hopefully Kansas will schedule a game in San Diego so we can see him play again.”
Wilhite, shown here in a highlight film from his junior year of high school, is KU’s eighth newcomer in the recruiting Class of 2022. The Jayhawks are adding high school scholarship players KJ Adams, Zach Clemence, Kyle Cuffe and Bobby Pettiford, juco transfer Sydney Curry and college transfers Cam Martin and Joseph Yesufu. KU has one scholarship left to give in recruiting, more if Ochai Agbaji and/or Jalen Wilson keep their names in the 2021 NBA Draft pool.
Wilhite said he’s eager to join KU’s group of big men that includes fellow newcomers Adams, Clemence, Curry, and Martin, plus returnees David McCormack and Mitch Lightfoot.
“It will be good. We can all push each other and help us all get better,” Wilhite said.