The University of Kentucky Wildcats is now and has always been a desirable location for the best high school basketball players. Top seniors from around the country seem to choose the Wildcats over other college suitors with remarkable frequency.
It could be because Head Coach John Calipari is nationally known and highly respected for developing very successful teams. In fact, he has the top-ranked recruiting class this year. And the key player is a very tall and talented immigrant from Haiti. His name is Skal Labissiere.
Born on the Caribbean island on March 18, 1996, this nineteen year old 6’11” two hundred twenty-five pound Power Forward and Center is highly-touted for his broad range of skills on the hardwood and because he is tall and extremely athletic, a combination that is rare in players of that height.
Labissiere, a polite and soft-spoken young man who survived the terrible earthquake that ravaged his homeland in 2012, came to this country a few years ago with the assistance of his guardian, an American named Gerald Hancilk.
Once here, he began playing high school basketball in Memphis, Tennessee for Evangelical Christian High School. When he turned senior, he attempted to transfer to a different high school in the same city, but was denied the right to play for the school’s basketball team. As a result, he sought another venue to display and develop his basketball talents. And one was made available.
That happened when his guardian put together a “traveling team” called Reach Your Dream Prep which enabled the young performer to play ball competitively against other independent teams.
Scouts for rating services watched him play and develop and named him the Number Two High School Player in the Class of 2015. Scouts for professional teams in the National Basketball Association (NBA) have also maintained a close watch on this future star and, as noted earlier, believe he is already a “can’t miss” prospect for the professional game.
Labissiere, a young man who is fluent in French and in English, as well, is currently ineligible to play in 2015. The NCAA has not given him clearance to be an active participant in his team’s games for an undisclosed reason. There is speculation that his lack of clearance to play has something to do with his relationship with his American guardian
Skal Labissiere will, when he is allowed to play, provide Coach Calipari with an awesome and dependable “inside” presence. His height and athletic ability will make it difficult for opposing players to produce points “in the paint.”
Labissiere has already been named by Parade Magazine as a First Team All-American in 2015. He also participated in the Nike Hoop Summit game this past summer.
There seems to be no limit to how good this young player can be this year and in the future. If he performs up to expectations, Skal Labissiere may very likely be a “one-and-done” Wildcat and a professional Center for a lucky NBA team when that league’s 2016 season begins next fall.
Courtesy of NBC Sports