Versatile Big Man Labissiere Holds Big-Time Offers
By JACK LeGWINSpecial to ZAGSBLOGSUWANEE, Ga. — Skal Labissiere is the definition of a “versatile big man.”
The 6-foot-11 2015 Center from Port-au-Prince, Haiti turned some heads at the Nike Memorial Classic over the weekend in wins over the Boca Raton (FL) Vipers, E1T1 Flash and Team Impacts.
With the ability to shoot with range, Labissiere has gotten the attention of many colleges all across the country, which has earned him offers from the likes of Kentucky, Kansas, Memphis, Georgetown, Auburn and Tennessee, and he knows that his perimeter game will help him at the next level.
“It will help me a lot,” Labissiere told SNY.tv. “Most of the time I play bigger and stronger guys, so if I can’t go inside, I can step outside and knock down some shots to help my team.”
Kentucky coach John Calipari offered Labissiere earlier this spring, according to CBSSports.com.
“When I heard it, I couldn’t say a thing, because I was shocked,” Labissiere told the site. “He told me I had the potential to be great. Coach told me, ‘Usually we don’t offer kids that young,’ but he did to me. So that’s a real honor.”
Calipari has produced talented big men, including last year’s No. 1 overall pick in Anthony Davis and the presumed No. 1 pick this year in Nerlens Noel.
“I like the way he pushes his players,” Labissiere told CBSSports.com, “how he gets them to the NBA and the next level.”
Memphis and coach Josh Pastner are also working hard to keep the big man in state.
“I enjoy the way they play,” Labissiere told CBS. “I just like their coaching staff. Coach Pastner is a really good guy. I like their program.”
He acknowledges that if he wants to reach his potential he will have to do a couple things to improve his game.
“I definitely have to get stronger,” Labissiere told SNY.tv. “I have to be quicker on my post moves, and learn how to work through foul trouble.”
Nevertheless, he is a key player to have on a high level AAU team out of Arkansas, and he shares the spotlight with another star, freshman Malik Monk, who doesn’t have enough good things to say about the big man from Haiti.
“Its really exciting,” said Monk. “you can feed him the ball and he’ll score whenever, so its awesome to have.”
Labissiere knows that the right choice for college will come in time.
“It’s going to be a long process for me, and in the end,” he said, “I’m going to just make sure that I go where the Lord wants me to go.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.