Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to Kentucky | Zagsblog
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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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Friday / May 24.
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to Kentucky

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    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a 6-foot-5 1/2 combo guard from Chattanooga (TN) Hamilton Heights Christian Academy, committed to Kentucky on Monday.

    A Canadian ranked the No 2 combo guard in the Class of 2017 by 247sports.com, he also considered UNLV, Texas and Syracuse after decommitting from Florida.

    Alexander averaged a team-high 15.8 points and 4.8 assists for Wings Elite on the Nike EYBL circuit this year.

    “Shai is excited about playing with other great players and being in a position that will help him achieve his ultimate dream and become the best player and point guard he can be,” Hamilton Heights coach Zach Ferrell said Monday. “He’s excited for the challenge and the opportunity that will come with being a Kentucky Wildcat.”

    Kentucky coach John Calipari and assistant Joel Justus visited Alexander recently and Alexander then visited the Kentucky campus.

    “Kentucky obviously came in Monday and that’s something that he seems very excited about,” Ferrell said two weeks ago by phone. “They see what he can be and what he could be just with his size and length and then his natural point guard sense in leading the team and that kind of stuff. So I think there’s definitely an excitement on both sides for them. That’s where it is with Kentucky.”

    Kentucky could lose guards De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk and Isaiah Briscoe to the NBA Draft and is in the market for guards for 2017. Fox and Monk are projected first-round picks in 2017 by DraftExpress.com, while Briscoe is listed as a second-rounder in 2018.

    Kentucky also remains in the mix for Class of 2017 point guards Quade Green, who is also considering Syracuse, Duke, Villanova and Temple and will announce Nov. 19, and Trae Young, who is considering Oklahoma and Kansas, among others.

    As for his upside, Ferrell said of Alexander: “He’s 6-5 with a 6-10 1/2 wingspan and point guard is his natural position, that’s where he feels comfortable. Guys love playing with him because he’s a kid that has the ability to be a real scoring threat, but really prefers getting everyone involved, getting them their touches and just really being a floor leader.

    “He’s not someone who just shoots 25 shots a game, but is somebody that can really dominate the game from a point guard position in the way that he controls it offensively and defensively. He’s got great size and a great understanding of the game and it really makes everyone that’s around him better.”

    Alexander is Kentucky’s third pledge in the Class of 2017 following 6-8 forward P.J. Washington of Findlay Prep (NV) and 6-11 big man Nick Richards of The Patrick School (N.J.). The Wildcats now have the No. 4 recruiting class in the nation according to Scout.com, behind UCLA, Arizona and Alabama.

    He is also the third Canadian guard to commit to Kentucky in recent years, following Jamal Murray, now with the Denver Nuggets, and Mychal Mulder.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. 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.

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