If Andrew Wiggins had any doubts about the pure passion of Kentucky Wildcat basketball fans, they have to be resolved by now. Wiggins and his top ranked Huntington Prep team faced off against Christian Faith Center from North Carolina at Scott County High School yesterday. After a close three and a half quarters, Wiggins and his team mates pulled away for a 61-44 win. Wiggins had 17 points and 11 rebounds in a game that seemed eerily similar at times to a Kentucky Wildcats home game:
In the second half, he broke out the fireworks everybody came to see.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Wiggins leapt for an offensive rebound, caught the ball while his head was at rim level, and threw it down for a thunderous slam.
UK Coach John Calipari exchanged glances with assistant Orlando Antigua.
The rest of the crowd got to its feet and serenaded the UK recruit with a chant of “Go Big Blue!”
“It was amazing,” Wiggins said. “The atmosphere was great. All of the fans loved me and supported my team. It’s a great place to play basketball here. People love basketball … the desire for the game. So I appreciate that.”
After the game, it was more questions about his recruitment. More autographs. More photos with fans who hope to see him playing in Rupp Arena this time next year.
Our very own Josh Kays was at the game and will have more on the site at 6:00 PM today, but until then, here is a bit more of the madness in video form:
Meanwhile, Calipari continues to work on his other recruiting classes at UK. On Saturday, Calipari was back in his own stomping grounds of Memphis and offered 2015 Center Skal Labissiere. Labissiere is a 6’9, 200 pound center from Haiti who is currently the 6th ranked prospect in the 2015 class. Skal has quite a story and actually survived the earthquake in Haiti and found his way to the US about 8 months later. Here is some video to introduce you to Labissiere as we no doubt will get more familiar with his name and story in the future.
For now, Kentucky fans are enjoying Nerlens Noel, but could get to know a former team mate of his that may be a future Wildcat in 2014 or so. Besides having a great name, Goodluck Okonoboh is one of the top defensive players in the 2014 class and was Noel’s former AAU and HS teammate. Goodluck has transferred to a prep school in Massachusetts. It’s easy to think about Noel when looking at Goodluck as both are adept at swatting shots and both sport flattops, but Okonoboh is building his own name outside the shadow of Noel:
He sure looked more comfortable on Friday, dominating on the defensive end against Putnam Science (Conn.). The 6-foot-9 big man was credited with eight blocks, but that might have short-changed him — by about 100 percent. Okonoboh had eight blocks in the first 12 minutes and might have finished with as many as 15. He also had 11 points and eight rebounds, including the game-winning putback with one second left.
And in case you are wondering, Kentucky has noticed and is recruiting him.