Wildcats Sign Three
A leading candidate for Kentucky's Mr. Basketball honor, one of Canada's finest and the MVP of the 2001 National Junior College Championship team have signed national letters of intent to play college basketball at Kentucky, Coach Tubby Smith announced Wednesday.
Glasgow's Brandon Stockton and Canadian Bernard Cote, along with Antwain Barbour of Wabash Valley Community College in Mt. Carmel, Ill., all officially signed with the Wildcats on the first day of the signing period, which runs through Nov. 21.
Barbour, who led Elizabethtown High School to the Kentucky Sweet 16 State Championship in 2000, guided Wabash to the National Junior College Athletic Association Championship in 2001. The 6-5, 180-pound swingman was named the Most Valuable Player of both tournaments. Last summer, he was the only junior college player to participate on the USA World University Games Team, helping the Americans capture the bronze medal in China.
"In Antwain (pronounced AN-twon), we're getting a young man who has had remarkable success the past two years, a proven performer," Smith said. "He continues the tradition of having great players from within the state of Kentucky play basketball for the Wildcats. But first and foremost, I know his goal right now at Wabash is to defend his team's national championship and we wish him and Coach Mark Nelson the best.
"It's also exciting to welcome aboard Antwain's family, Elizabethtown coach James Haire and the great fans from the Elizabethtown community. They are now an even bigger part of the Kentucky basketball family."
Barbour was a 5-foot-8 freshman when he entered Elizabethtown High School. He lettered his last two seasons, and as a junior, started half the games, averaging 9.0 points and 3.5 rebounds. The late bloomer grew to 6-5 by his senior season when he lead E-town to a 30-5 record while averaging 21.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. He shot 54% from the field and 46% from three-point range.
But it was in the 2000 Sweet 16 Tournament when he burst on the college basketball radar screen. In four games at Rupp Arena, he averaged 26 points per game, including a 42-point, 17-rebound performance in the semifinal win over Russell on Saturday morning, and 31 points and 8 boards that night in the state title victory over Lexington Catholic. He went on to earn All-State recognition by the Lexington Herald-Leader and the Louisville Courier-Journal but failed to earn district or region player of the year honors and was not a finalist for Mr. Basketball.
Last year at Wabash, he averaged 16.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists for the 36-1 Warriors. In the NJCAA title game against Allegany, he hit five-of-six three-point shots and totaled 21 points in the victory to finish the tournament averaging 23.0 ppg. In China with USA Basketball, he saw action in all eight games, averaging 5.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.
Barbour, who will have two years of eligibility remaining, chose Kentucky over Cincinnati, Indiana and UNLV.
Stockton is the leading scorer in Glasgow High School history with 1,871 points recorded before his senior season, a career 20.5 average. The 5-11, 165-pound point guard also holds the school record for assists with 433. He led the Scotties to the 2001 All "A" Classic state title where he was named MVP.
"His maturity level is exemplary, a model student-athlete," Smith said. "He fits the mold of the type of young men we're recruiting here at Kentucky. He's a leading candidate for Mr. Basketball honors and has a chance to lead Coach Bart Flener's team back to the All "A" state championship.
"He'll be a dynamic point guard who brings scoring ability as well as leadership to our team."
Last spring, he was the top vote getter on The Associated Press All-State team and also earned first-team All-State honors by the Lexington Herald-Leader and the Louisville Courier-Journal. The Scotties finished the 2001 season with a 26-6 record while Stockton averaged 29.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game. He shot 47.8% from the field, 38% from three-point range and 77% from the foul line. He's lettered the last three seasons at Glasgow, leading the squad to a 74-17 record overall.
He has won numerous other awards and honors, including 4th Region Player of the Year (2001). Stockton also picked up 4th Region All-Tournament team honors (1999-01), 15th District All-Tournament team recognition (1999-01), AP Honorable Mention (2000) and made the Fifth-Third Bank Holiday Classic All-Tournament team (2000), setting the tournament record for scoring average with 33.0 ppg.
He announced his intentions to sign with Kentucky last April following his junior season after choosing the Wildcats over Auburn and Butler.
Cote (pronounced Coe-TAY), a 6-9, 225-pound power forward, is entering his final season with Champlain-St. Lambert in Quebec. Last season, he averaged 13 points and nine rebounds while playing less than 24 minutes per game. He led Coach John Dangelas' team to a 10-6 record, a runner-up finish in the conference and a fifth-place showing in the Canadian Nationals. His performance earned him All-Canada team honors.
"We've had success recruiting Canadian players and with Bernard, we think we've found another young man who'll bring a level of maturity to our team since he'll be a 20-year-old freshman next season," Smith said. "He's got excellent size, his body has physically matured and he possesses very good mobility for a power forward. He should fit into our style of play very well and be an important addition to our team as we try to replace All-American Tayshaun Prince along the front line next season."
In 2000, his first season at Champlain, he averaged 10 points and six boards as the squad finished third in the nine-team province with an 11-5 record. Cote, who is fluent in French and English, is the second Canadian to play for Kentucky. Jamaal Magloire, who lettered for the Cats from 1997-00, was a Toronto native who now plays for the NBA's Charlotte Hornets.
Cote chose Kentucky over Kansas, Notre Dame, Minnesota, Ohio State, Illinois and Stanford.
All three signees will be the first student-athletes from their respective high schools to play for Kentucky.