Assistant coach Orlando Antigua may have found a local gem.
There's a new name on the radar for the Kentucky Wildcats' 2013 recruiting class. Last Thursday, assistant coach Orlando Antigua stopped by Cordia (KY) High School to watch Emmanuel Owootoah. There's a Kentucky connection here: Cordia's head coach is Rodrick Rhodes, who played his first three years of college ball in Lexington.
Owootoah is a late bloomer to the recruiting scene. A point guard and a Canadian, Owootoah recently reclassified to the 2013 class and transferred from St. Anthony to Cordia. He isn't ranked, but per Adam Zagoria, holds offers from the UCLA Bruins and Tennessee Volunteers. In the article, Zagoria also notes that Owootoah has also drawn interest from the Baylor Bears and Arizona Wildcats.
Owootoah must have made quite an impression on Antigua, as there are reports that someone from the Wildcats' coaching staff will be back to Cordia tonight to see Owootoah play again. Kentucky hasn't formally extended an offer, but it wouldn't be surprising if one was forthcoming.
The point guard spot has been much cause for consternation this year, with starter Ryan Harrow struggling. Jarrod Polson has provided serviceable backup minutes, as has combo guard Archie Goodwin. But the bottom line is that Kentucky lacks the playmaking ballhandler that drove past Calipari teams.
The Wildcats believe they have that player next year in incoming McDonald's All-American Andrew Harrison, a signed prospect in the 2013 class. In addition, both Harrow and Polson are expected to return to the team next year, leaving little immediate playing time available for Owootoah.
That's okay with Owootoah, per Rhodes, who says his point guard welcomes the backcourt the competition and is likely more a four-year collegian anyway. In the linked NextCats article, Rhodes also mentions that Owootoah doesn't possess any formal offers--contradicting the Zagoria report--but expects some to come at season's end.
While he isn't one of Calipari's prototype five-star recruits, Owootoah fits the profile of a true distributing point guard that can facilitate an offense. If Calipari were to extend an offer, says Rhodes, Owootoah would be a great fit for Kentucky's program.
"Emmanuel would be a guy that would push (the Harrisons) extremely hard in practice and eventually he’d be a guy that would be winning for Coach Cal," Rhodes said. "Because he’s a mentally tough kid who Coach Cal would love to coach.
"He’s like one of those old UMass guards that Coach Cal had. … I just remember those kids were mentally tough and never got tired. They always made the right play."
Stay tuned on his recruitment.