The Kentucky Wildcats are back on the biggest stage of college basketball. Saturday night, they’ll go for their first national title since 1998 when they take on UConn in the Final Four.
And their future might be even brighter than the present, as they lead the way with four recruits in the McDonald’s All-American Game on Wednesday. Duke has three, and a few other schools have two.
One of the jewels in that top-rated recruiting class is 6-10 forward Kyle Wiltjer; who made his name known nationally Monday night at the Jam Fest.
By Paul M. Banks
Photo Credit, Mike Richman, Oregon Live.com
“I been watching all their games, and it’s fun watching something that I’m going to be a part of next year,” Wiltjer said about UK’s current success, and his aims to keep that ball rolling next season.
A 6-10 big who can also shoot the three? Versatility like that sounds dangerous.
“It makes me tougher to defend because they have to guard me out there and respect my shot. The prejudice that big men can’t shoot, but I just like to prove ’em wrong,” Wiltjer said about how his performance defied the stereotype that big men can’t shoot.
Another stereotype Wiltjer helped dispute is the idea that Canadians can’t ball. This is the second year in a row that a Canuck has won this three-point shooting competition. Cory Joseph of the Texas Longhorns took home the honor last year.
“It’s nice to keep the tradition going,” Kyle stated about Canadian national pride in basketball skills.
Wiltjer joined the ranks of NBA players Mario Chalmers, Maurice Williams and Jason Kapono. Not to mention Wayne Ellington of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and J.J. Redick and Chris Duhon of the Orland Magic as winners of the McDonald’s All-American game three-point shootout.
Since the event began in 1989, it’s been won by six Blue Devils, an astonishingly high number for one school. Wiltjer is the first UK Wildcat to take home this award.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest webzine. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
He does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank
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