John Calipari's club fought an uphill battle for the No. 18 overall prospect in the Class of 2014. Booker grew up in Michigan, where his mother still lives, and had forged an early bond with both local programs.
While a commitment to either Michigan or Michigan State offered the opportunity to be closer to his mother, a pledge to Missouri offered the allure of following in his father's footsteps. Melvin Booker led the Tigers to a Big Eight title and a spot in the Elite Eight in 1994, earning conference Player of the Year honors and an induction into the university's hall of fame in 1999.
Kentucky hosted Booker for his official visit in September on the same weekend as its annual alumni game, and had been perceived as the leader since that point, especially after they landed a commitment from Booker's good friend, ESPN 100 point guard Tyler Ulis.
Missouri appeared to be gaining ground in recent weeks, hosting Booker for his final official visit on Oct. 18 and then having have him back on campus a week later, as Melvin Booker and the 1994 Tigers team were recognized by the university.
Booker is an excellent 3-point shooter who is versatile enough to play either the 2 or 3, and as a relatively young senior he has a high ceiling for improvement.
He becomes the third ESPN 100 prospect to commit to Kentucky, joining Ulis and big man Karl Towns.
With Julius Randle, Andrew Harrison, Willie Cauley-Stein, James Young, Alex Poythress, Dakari Johnson and Aaron Harrison all mulling potential jumps to the NBA, the Wildcats remain focused on adding to the class with Trey Lyles, Stanley Johnson, and James Blackmon Jr. being the top three remaining targets on their board.
Blackmon is set to announce his decision during halftime of the ULM-Troy football game Thursday night.