LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Playing just an hour down the road from where he will play college ball in a few months, Kentucky men’s basketball signee Shai Gilgeous-Alexander put on a show at the Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic en route to sharing MVP honors with Western Kentucky’s Taveion Hollingsworth.
Gilgeous-Alexander erupted for a game-high 29 points, nine rebounds and six assists in just 19 minutes at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky. Gilgeous-Alexander made an ultra-efficient 12 of 15 shots to lead Team Lightning to a 122-109 victory over Team Thunder.
The incoming UK signee also won the all-star game’s 3-point contest.
First held in 1973, the Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic annually features some of the nation’s best talent and is the oldest high school all-star game in the nation. Past Kentucky greats such as Jack Givens, Rick Robey, Kyle Macy, Rex Champan, Derek Anderson and Jamal Mashburn have played in the game. Other non-UK greats who have played in the game include Moses Malone, Isiah Thomas, Dominique Wilkins and Anfernee Hardaway.
Gilgeous-Alexander will come to Kentucky out of Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Originally, from Canada, Gilgeous-Alexander was a member of the 2016 Canadian Men’s U18 National Team that captured the silver medal at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship over the summer. He averaged 7.8 points, a tournament-best 5.4 assists and 3.0 steals per game.
The 6-foot-5, 185-pound guard is considered a consensus top-50 prospect in the 2017 class and is ranked as high as No. 31 overall by Rivals. He capped his senior season by averaging 18.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.
Gilgeous-Alexander also played in the Nike Hoop Summit last week in Portland, Oregon, where he scored 11 points.
Three other UK men’s basketball signees were in action Friday night at the annual Jordan Brand Classic. P.J. Washington scored 11 points to go with three rebounds, four assists and a game-high six steals; Nick Richards had a number of impressive dunks en route to 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting; and Quade Green showed an ability to get his teammates involved with a game-high 10 assists to go with six points.
UK led all schools with three signees in the Jordan Brand Classic. Green, Richards and Washington all played in the McDonald’s All American Game in Chicago last month as well.
Kentucky can only publicize prospects who have signed a national letter of intent or a financial aid agreement.
UK’s current recruiting class is considered the No. 1 class in the country by all of the major recruiting services. In every season in the John Calipari era, the Wildcats have signed either the nation’s No. 1 or No. 2 recruiting class.