Hamilton Heights point guard Shai Alexander, who scored 18 points in the Hawks’ win over Central Park on Tuesday, made a recruiting trip to the University of Florida on Wednesday and announced Friday that he has made a non-binding verbal to coach Mike White’s Gators.
Alexander later Friday night scored 12 points and dished out five assists in helping the Hawks post a 66-51 victory over Southwest Arkansas in the Lighthouse Thanksgiving Classic in Corinth, Miss.
“Shai has been outstanding since the moment he came to Chattanooga,” Hawks coach Zach Ferrell said in a phone conversation from Corinth, Miss.
“He’s a humble, hard-working, very coachable kid with a bright future. He’s the kind of kid every coach wants on his team and the kind of point guard every player wants to play with.”
It was Hamilton Heights’ fourth straight win to start the season and the Hawks advanced to Saturday’s championship game against Sunrise Christian from Bel Aire, Kan.
Alexander was one of four Hawks in double figures.
Nickiel Walker led the team with 14 points and added six assists. Ezekiel Balogun had 13 points and seven rebounds and Therren Szmidt finished with 10 points.
Abdulhakim Ado scored five points, grabbed 14 rebounds – 10 on the defensive glass – and blocked five shots.
Alexander is one of three Canadian players on the Hawks’ roster – he is from Hamilton, Ontario – this season and the junior point guard came to Chattanooga with a superlative reputation.
He’s the third Hamilton Heights player to either commit or sign with a Division I school this month.
Ezekiel Balogun signed with Middle Tennessee State and highly touted senior post Abdulhakim Ado recently committed to Mississippi State.
The 6-foot-4-inch Alexander also had offers from Middle Tennessee, Binghamton, St. Bonaventure, American and was also recruited by Memphis, Dayton, Vanderbilt and Butler.
Alexander, who played for U-Play Canada on the adidas circuit this past spring and summer, is tall, athletic and possesses a 6-9 wing span.
“His abilities are going to allow him to have success on the basketball court,” Ferrell said. He’s got the great wing span, can shoot the ball very well and he’s a great point guard with a great feel for the game.”
(E-mail Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @larryfleming44)