HPrep's Gill-Caesar weighing his options
HUNTINGTON — As the 2013-14 boys basketball season gets underway, the hoopla is starting to build around a Canadian phenom in Huntington Prep’s program.
This time, it is Montaque Gill-Caesar, a 6-foot-6, 215-pound wing from Vaughan, Ontario, who is ranked No. 19 in the Class of 2015.
For the last two years, Gill-Caesar played alongside the likes of Andrew Wiggins and Xavier Rathan-Mayes, a pair of fellow Canadians who made plenty of noise in the recruiting ranks for the Class of 2013.
Now, Gill-Caesar is the lone Canadian on the Irish roster and he has made quite the name for himself. Gill-Caesar burst onto the national scene in the summer on the AAU circuit.
Gill-Caesar said he is in no hurry to make up his mind on a college. He has a large list of schools that he has not narrowed down, but doesn’t know whether he is going to stay in the Class of 2015 or reclassify to the Class of 2014.
“It’s all just wait and see,” Gill-Caesar said. “I have no real timetable on when I’m going to be deciding anything right now.”
Huntington Prep coach Rob Fulford said that the advice he has given Gill-Caesar is similar to what he gave Wiggins before he reclassified from the Class of 2014 to the Class of 2013.
“He and I had the discussion to be a ‘14 or ‘15 and my advice to him was that if the offers on the table for 2014 weren’t what he wanted, that’d be the only reason to come back,” Fulford said. “If you have the top three schools offering, I’m not sure it gets any better than that.
"Like I said with Andrew last year, selfishly, you want a kid for an extra year but that’s not what we’re about. He needed to get out as soon as he could. He was ready. Teki is too.”
Gill-Caesar’s current focus is on leading the Irish to sustained national prominence.
So far, the Irish are averaging 104 points per game and Gill-Caesar is at the center of it all with his all-around play that has iincluded hitting from the outside with more consistency and getting to the rim for powerful finishes.
He also made an eye-opening comparison to the 2012-13 team that finished 30-3.
“It’s fun because I think we’re a little more athletic this year than last year so when we get out in transition, it’s going to be showtime,” Gill-Caesar said. “That’s what people want to see. It’s what brings people to games.”
Wiggins was arguably the most athletic prospect coming out of high school since LeBron James, but Gill-Caesar said this season’s additions of JaQuan Lyle, Providence commit Jalen Lindsey and Class of 2016 riser Miles Bridges have the team flying high.
“Yeah, it’s definitely more athletic because Miles, Jalen, JaQuan and myself, we all have flyers,” Gill-Caesar said. “When we all get on the break, people want to see what we can do.”
The evidence of that came against Ezell-Harding on Sunday when the Irish had 24 dunks in a 133-56 win.
Gill-Caesar had 15 points in just over a half of work as Huntington Prep got plenty of players into the contest, which was played at the Frankfort Shootout in Frankfort, Ky.
It was the second time in as many Sundays that Gill-Caesar had ventured into the Bluegrass State.
On Nov. 10, he visited the University of Kentucky for the Wildcats’ 93-63 win over Northern Kentucky.
While he reaffirmed that his recruiting is still wide open, he did say he enjoyed many aspects of his visit to Lexington.
“What I liked was the fan base and how supportive the fans are of the team and basketball players,” Gill-Caesar said. “That definitely boosts a player’s confidence to know that whether they have a bad game or not, that fan base will be there behind them.
“I also like Coach Cal (John Calipari) and how he handles his players. He tells them what they need to hear.”
Kentucky hasn’t formally offered Gill-Caesar a scholarship, but Fulford said the option is available no matter whether he is a 2014 or 2015 prospect.
“If Teki wants to go to Kentucky, he can go to Kentucky,” Fulford said.
Michigan State, this week’s No. 1 team that knocked off then top-ranked Kentucky last Tuesday night,offered Gill-Caesar last weekend.
Kansas, West Virginia, Memphis, Missouri, Purdue, Baylor, Providence and Alabama have all extended offers for either the 2014 or 2015 class while Illinois and Ohio State have offered for the Class of 2015.
“I just want to see what would benefit me as a player,” Gill-Caesar said. “Everyone asks what I’m going to do and who I’m favoring. It’s cool, it’s fun, but I don’t really pay attention to any of that.
“I’m just focused on getting better at this point.”