Huntington Prep rocks the rim
SUMMIT, Ky. -- Huntington Prep treated fans to one final rim-rocking show Saturday as the Express celebrated Senior Day with a 131-64 win over United Leadership Academy of Canada at Boyd County Middle School.
Huntington Prep's Andrew Wiggins, the top-rated prospect in the Class of 2013, got the fans worked up with nine dunks on the way to a 40-point effort. One came on an alley-oop and another after a pass went off the backboard and came right to the 2013 Naismith High School Boys Player of the Year as he charged down the lane for the slam. Xavier Rathan-Mayes made both passes.
Wiggins, who is from Canada, and Rathan-Mayes were two of eight seniors honored after the game. Also recognized were Moses Kingsley, Dominic Woodson, Travon Landry, Carlos Arroyo, Patrick Strake and Gabriel Williams-Otor.
"I'm glad we could do it. It's what fans wanted to see," Wiggins, who visited Kentucky last week and heads to Kansas on Monday and North Carolina next weekend, said of the dunks. "The one off the glass, he looked, saw me and knew what to do." Wiggins already has visited Florida State.
Huntington Prep ends the regular season 30-3.
"That was a lot of fun," Express coach Rob Fulford said. "That's the best group I've had. We have elite players who play hard and together."
Rathan-Mayes finished with 16 points, 20 assists and 12 rebounds for a triple-double. Woodson contributed 14 points and Strake 11.
"I love playing with these guys," Rathan-Mayes said. "Guys that caliber get the ball to them and they do the rest. It's easy for me."
After 10 minutes, Huntington Prep led 22-16. At intermission, the margin balloned to 68-30. Early in the second period, Fulford called timeout and actually got on his players a bit.
"We had to pick it up. Attitude," Wiggins said.
"We played better on defense and that leads to great offense," Rathan-Mayes said.
The Express roster features players from Canada, Russia, Nigeria, Puerto Rico and the United States. Fulford and his staff put in the time to turn the players into a cohesive unit.
"The guys all average 30 points for their previous teams," Fulford said. "They have to buy into the Huntington Prep way, not themselves. This shows we have good kids. The staff does a great job blending a team together."
Fulford said the way the 6-8 Wiggins handles himself on the court makes that clear.
"We've got the best player and he's one of the most unselfish I've ever seen," Fulford said. "It doesn't come down to who gets the credit. They win and they're good teammates on and off the court."
Four seniors have signed with Division I schools -- Rathan-Mayes, Florida State; Woodson, Baylor; Kingsley, Arkansas; and Landry, Tennessee.
"When they get to college at whatever level they have to buy into that system or they don't play," Fulford said.
Representatives from McDonald's attended the game and honored Wiggins, who has been selected to play in the McDonald's All-American Game on April 3 in Chicago (9:30 p.m. on ESPN). Kingsley, Williams-Otor and Woodson received certificates and hats for being nominated to the game. Wiggins also will play in the Jordan Brand Classic on April 13 at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn.
The Express defeated United Leadership Academy 81-52 last week in Canada. It marked the final high school game for Wiggins in his homeland. After Saturday's game, Express players took part in an autograph and photo session.
"This is a proud moment. I cherish the moment," Wiggins said before he and his teammates went out for the final curtain call. "We have athletes from around the world. It's all about attitude and work. Everyone buys in. We all want each other to succeed at whatever we do. This has been a blessing."
UNITED LEADERSHIP ACADEMY 16 14 21 13 -- 64: Hyrski 3-7 0-2 6, Kiapway 6-24 0-0 17, Babic 3-9 0-0 9, Tello 2-3 0-0 5, Fraser 1-1 0-0 2, Burke 2-7 0-0 4, Watson 4-7 0-0 8, Hare 1-2 0-0 3, McIntosh 0-2 0-0 0, Matovic 4-5 1-4 10. Totals: 26-67 1-6 64.
HUNTINGTON PREP 22 46 28 35 -- 131: Wiggins 18-23 1-1 40, Arroyo 3-5 0-0 6, Woodson 7-9 0-2 14, Gill-Caesar 4-5 0-0 8, Kingsley 6-8 1-7 13, Provo 3-5 0-0 9, Strake 3-3 5-5 11, Landry 2-7 1-2 5, Novak 0-0 0-0 0, Gabriel 3-4 3-6 9, Rathan-Mayes 6-15 2-2 16. Totals: 55-84 13-25 131.
3-point baskets: ULA 11-32 (Kiapway 5-19, Babic 3-8, Tello 1-1, Burke 0-1, Hare 1-2, Matovic 1-1). Huntington Prep 8-21 (Wiggins 3-6, Arroyo 0-1, Woodson 0-1, Gill-Caesar 0-1, Provo 3-5, Landry 0-1, Rathan-Mayes 2-6). Rebounds: ULA, Burke 5; Huntington Prep, Rathan-Mayes 12.