BENTON, Ky. – As the University of Kentucky basketball team seeks to round out its 2014 recruiting class, a junior has emerged as one of the Wildcats’ top options.
Five-star wing Montaque Gill-Caesar, a native of Vaughan, Ontario, who attends Huntington (W.Va.) Prep, said Saturday at the Marshall County Hoop Fest that UK is one of the many teams interested in him if he chooses to reclassify to the senior class.
The 6-foot-5 Gill-Caesar, who goes primarily by the nickname “Teki,” said he has no favorites in his recruitment and has not set a timetable for when he plans to decide if he’ll remain a junior or become a senior.
Gill-Caesar said UK, where he’s visited twice, has not explicitly said he has an offer, but the sense is that if he wants to play for the Wildcats, he can.
“If I see myself playing there, then they would love to have the opportunity to recruit me,” said Gill-Caesar, who had 19 points in Huntington Prep’s 72-46 win over the Atlanta Sports Academy.
UK has the nation’s No. 2 recruiting class: five-star center Karl Towns Jr., five-star power forward Trey Lyles, four-star shooting guard Devin Booker and four-star point guard Tyler Ulis.
“Really talented,” Gill-Caesar said. “That team is definitely going to make noise,”
The only position that’s not filled in UK’s class is small forward, and Gill-Caesar believes he’s a target there.
“They just told me they need a guy to fill that spot. That’s about it,” he said.
What’s the appeal of UK?
“I like the atmosphere,” he said. “They’re talented, of course. I like how hard they work, and I like the players they produce.”
Gill-Caesar declined to list all the schools recruiting him for fear of leaving someone out. He mentioned Duke as a new school showing interest and that Marquette and Michigan State have made recent offers. Kansas and West Virginia are among other schools that have offered.
In whether or not to reclassify, Gill-Caesar, who will have all the academic credits he needs to graduate in 2014, faces a similar dilemma as Andrew Wiggins – another Huntington Prep superstar wing from Canada – did last year. Wiggins, who battled Gill-Caesar in practice every day, was originally in the 2014 class, jumped a grade to 2013 before signing with Kansas over Kentucky and others.
Gill-Caesar said facing Wiggins every day was a humbling experience and helped him improve his strength, quickness and skills.
“If something is not working for you, then resort to something else,” Gill-Caesar said. “(Use) different aspects of your game. Don’t focus on one thing and expand yourself.”
Snider happy to be
back in Cards’ fold
Ballard guard Quentin Snider, who signed with the University of Louisville last month after being verbally committed to Illinois, said it’s been a happy few weeks since his decision to re-up with the hometown Cardinals – the team he was committed to for nearly two years before reopening his recruitment and temporarily picking the Illini.
“It’s been very good,” he said. “We’ve still got to work hard, but my family is really excited.”
Snider said he encounters U of L fans around town that tell him, ‘”I’m glad that you’re back and that you’re part of the Cardinals.”
U of L coach Rick Pitino had been expected to watch Snider’s game against Indianapolis Arsenal Tech at the Hoop Fest on Friday night, but inclement weather led to the postponement of that game until Saturday.
Hoptown’s Matlock high
on Oklahoma State
Athletic Hopkinsville junior forward JaQualis Matlock, who had 18 points and five rebounds in a 79-60 victory over Marshall County, said he has scholarship offers from Western Kentucky and Kentucky Wesleyan but considers Oklahoma State, which has not made an offer but shows daily interest, to be his favorite.
Matlock said if an offer from the Cowboys were to materialize – and he thinks one might by the end of this season – he’d likely commit to coach Travis Ford.
Matlock said Murray State, Austin Peay, Wisconsin, Gonzaga and Kentucky Wesleyan have all also shown interest.
Steve Jones can be reached at (502) 582-7176 and followed on Twitter at @SteveJones_CJ.