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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Sunday / August 20.
  • Coach Says Kentucky-Bound Alexander is a True Point Guard

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    Kentucky is getting a true point guard in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

    So says his coach, Zach Ferrell of Hamilton Heights (TN).

    “My opinion is he’s a point guard. Period,” Ferrell told Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader Friday night after Alexander went for 21 points in a 72-62 loss to Duke-bound Gary Trent Jr. and Prolific Prep (CA). “He’s great with the ball in his hands. His composure is unbelievable. He’s a great decision maker. He loves to share the ball. He limits turnovers, and he’s great at making plays and finding other people.”

    The 6-foot-5 1/2 Alexander also went for 20 points and 10 assists on Thursday night in a nationally-televised win over Memphis (TN) East. He and his teammates are expected to visit Kentucky Wednesday for the Valparaiso game, a source said.

    He is distributor who likes to push the ball up the court and create for his teammates. He also has the ability to create for himself with his quickness and a solid midrange jumper. He can play point guard or shooting guard, but figures to play off the ball some with Kentucky having also signed Neumann-Goretti (PA) point guard Quade Green, who led his PSA Cardinals team to the finals of the Peach Jam.

    The Wildcats will likely lose freshmen guards De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk to the NBA Draft, and possibly sophomore Isaiah Briscoe, too.

    “Shai is a little bit like Jamal Murray and some other guys we’ve gotten late in the process before,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “He decommitted from a school and called us and asked us if we would be interested in recruiting him. I saw him play in the summer and I thought he was a pretty good player. Then he grew three inches and went and played for the [Canadian] national team. The national team brought out stuff that no one knew, and all of a sudden you’ve got a five-star guard that’s 6-5, 6-6, can make plays and can get in the lane. He can get in the lane like Isaiah Briscoe. He can guard and deflect balls.”

    Alexander initially only had a scholarship offer from Binghamton before he blew up and committed to Florida. He then opted to decommit before ultimately signing with Kentucky.

    “My confidence is in Coach Cal,” he told Roberts. “Last year, they go with (Jamal) Murray, (Isaiah) Briscoe and (Tyler) Ulis — those are all three ball-dominant point guards coming out of high school. They all played together.”

    Kentucky is probably not done replenishing its backcourt, either.

    The Wildcats have made Hamidou Diallo a huge priority for the spring. Diallo is eligible for the NBA Draft in 2017, but has said he wants to spend a year in college.

    Diallo and fellow Kentucky target Mohamed Bamba will both be on display on Sunday at the PSA Cardinals Showcase at The Hill School in Pottstown, Pa.

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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.