Cards and Cats land new signees on first day of early signing period

Cards and Cats land new signees on first day of early signing period
Kentucky and Louisville are both ranked in the top five of the AP preseason men's basketball poll. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Wednesday marked the beginning of the one week early signing period in college.

The Cards and Cats, men and women, all added players for 2021-22.

The UofL signed four. El Ellis, a 6′3″ guard from Durham, North Carolina who plays at Tallahassee (FL) Community College, Mike James, a 6′6″ guard/forward from Oak RIdge High School in Orlando, Florida; Bobby Pettiford, a 6′1″ guard from Durham, North Carolina and South Granville High School in Creedmore, South Carolina; and Eric Van der Heijden, a 6′8″ guard/forward from Millbrook High School in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“We are excited to announce the signing of five young men to the Louisville basketball program,” said UofL Head Coach Chris Mack.  “We feel this class is a versatile and athletic group that will be able to impact our program.  My assistant coaches did an excellent job identifying the type of student-athletes we want in our program and are fortunate to add today.”

UK signed three on Wednesday.

Daimion Collins, a 6′9″ forward from Atlanta High School in Atlanta, Texas; Nolan Hickman, a 6′2″ guard from Wasatch Academy in Utah who is originially from Seattle; and Bryce Hopkins, a 6′7″ forward from Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Illinois.

“Our fans have heard me talk a lot about what it means to be ‘Built Different.’ When you talk about this fall class, you’ve got three kids who are built to play here at Kentucky,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “They wanted to be a part of this culture. They wanted to play against other really good players. They didn’t need any promises or guarantees – only the promise that this is going to be the hardest thing they’ve ever done and that we will challenge them to become the best version of themselves.”

The UofL women added two signees.

Sydni Schetnan, a 6′5″ center from Washington High School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Payton Verhulst, a 6′1″ guard from Bishop Miege High School in De Soto, Kansas.

“We are extremely excited to announce that Sydni and Payton will be a part of our 2021 signing class,” UofL head coach Jeff Walz said. “Once again, we traveled wherever necessary to find players that are a fit for our program. I can’t wait for our fans to get a chance to watch them play.”

The UK women signed one player.

Jada Walker is a 5′7″ point guard from Henrico High School in Richmond, Virginia.

“I cannot imagine a player that’s a better fit for our program than Jada Walker,” UK head coach Matthew Mitchell said. "We are over the moon excited that she has decided to be a Kentucky Wildcat. The first time I saw her play, I immediately fell in love with how hard she plays and how aggressive she is on both ends of the floor.

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