Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Two 7-footers sign with UK for 2003

Wildcats needed help in the post

The Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. - For the first time in Kentucky basketball history, the Wildcats will have two players on their roster who stand 7-feet or taller.

Kentucky announced the signings of Shagari Alleyne and Lukasz Obrzut on Monday. Alleyne and Obrzut each signed during the spring signing period that ended Thursday.

"I'm excited about the chance to coach two 7-footers like Shagari and 'Woo' (Obrzut)," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. "They'll both be able to step in and fill our needs in the post after the losses of Marquis Estill and Jules Camara."

According to UK officials, Obrzut and Alleyne will be the fourth and fifth 7-footers to wear a Kentucky uniform. The others were Bill Spivey (1950-1952), Tom Payne (1970-1971) and Sam Bowie (1980-1984). Bowie, at 7-1, was the tallest of that trio.

The 7-2, 260-pound Alleyne averaged 21 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots per game this past season for Rice High School in New York, which finished 19-8. Rice won the city and state titles in New York during Alleyne's junior season.

After this season, he received team most valuable player honors in the Kentucky Derby Festival Classic in Louisville, finishing with 16 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.

He also played this spring in the Michael Jordan Capital Classic, another national high school all-star game, scoring two points and grabbing four rebounds in 13 minutes. He played on the same team as consensus national player of the year LeBron James of St. Vincent-St. Mary of Akron. Kentucky won the recruiting battle for Alleyne over Rutgers.

"He really gives us an inside presence and shot-blocking ability that we can put to good use," Smith said.

Obrzut, from Gliwice, Poland, played for Bridgton Academy in North Bridgton, Maine, this past season, averaging 12 points and eight rebounds per game. It was his first season of organized basketball in the U.S. The 7-1, 240-pound Obrzut originally planned to sign with Fordham, but changed his mind.

Obrzut and Alleyne will join 6-8 swingman Bobby Perry of Durham, N.C., and 6-8 forward Sheray Thomas of Montreal in Kentucky's recruiting class. Perry and Thomas signed with the Wildcats in November.

UK Roster

Probable Starting Five For 2003-04

F-Antwain BarbourSr.6-53.4
F-Erik DanielsSr.6-89.5
F-Chuck HayesJr.6-68.6
G-Gerald FitchSr.6-312.3
G-Cliff HawkinsSr.6-16.3


C-Shagari AlleyneFr.7-2n/a
C-Lukasz ObrzutFr.7-1n/a
F-Kelenna AzubuikeSo.6-53.7
F-Bernard CoteSo.6-90.8
F-Bobby PerryFr.6-8n/a
F-Sheray ThomasFr.6-8n/a
G-Matt HeissenbuttelSr.6-40.0
G-Josh CarrierJr.6-51.4
G-Preston LeMasterSo.6-20.9
G-Ravi MossSo.6-20.8
G-Brandon StocktonSo.5-91.3

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