The recent success Richard Pitino’s had with big men led to a commitment Saturday from three-star Swedish center Kenny Pohto.
Pohto, a senior at Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Aire, Kan., announced his decision on Instagram after being offered scholarships by Nebraska and Wichita State.
Sunrise Christian coach Luke Barnwell said Pohto has grown this year to 6-foot-11 and nearly 240 pounds, but can play both frontcourt positions. The native of Stockholm was intrigued by Pitino’s development of post players, including potential 2020 NBA first-round pick Daniel Oturu.
“He was trying to find the right fit at the highest level,” Barnwell told the Star Tribune. “He’s very, very skilled and has IQ. He saw a system where those big guys Coach Pitino had have been moved around and used all over the place. He saw a fit from a style of play, and also with a chance to play in one of the best leagues in the country.”
The connection was strong with Gophers assistant Kyle Lindsted, a former Sunrise Christian head coach and Wichita State assistant. Pohto is ranked the 142nd best player nationally by 247sports.com.
"I feel like I can help wherever they need me," Pohto told 247sports.com recruiting analyst Eric Bossi. "I’m a versatile player, I can guard 1-5, I have good basketball IQ, I shoot the ball very well, I can put it on the floor, I can take advantage of mismatches if I have a really big dude I can take him to the perimeter and I can bury a little dude in the post."
Pitino now has two players committed to the 2021 recruiting class, including 6-11 LaLumiere Academy (Ind.) big man Treyton Thompson, who is from Alexandria, Minn.