LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – Originally a Florida Gator commit, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander gained additional attention and confidence when he played with the Canadian national team. As he realized he could reach for bigger goals, he de-committed from the Gators and that’s when he heard from Kentucky.
While UK basketball had recruited players from other countries before, Shai was happy scouts noticed the skills from players in the North.”Coach Cal, he was really straightforward with me,” Alexander said. “He was honest with me when he came to visit, and he was different from a lot of the coaches. I knew I wanted to be coached by him.”
“I think it’s just it’s Canada’s talent getting noticed,” the Canadian baller said, “And it’s good to see that we’re finally on the map.”
For the 6’6 freshman guard, it runs in the family. Charmaine Gilgeous, Shai’s mom, ran track at the University of Alabama and in the summer Olympics. Shai said, “She’s helped me get to where I am today. She shows me some things that a lot of kids don’t get to hear from their parents. She’s helped a lot.”
However, Gilgeous isn’t blinded by her son’s talent. In fact, many times she’s his biggest critic. Shai tells us, “She’s always trying to find the bad when I play. She tries to make me better as a player and as a person. I just get used to it. She’s always criticizing. I love it though.”