Cats in the mix for 4-star center

Gallon, who finished last season averaging 10 points and 13 rebounds per game on his 34-4 team, seemed pretty knowledgeable about the schools that were expressing a lot of interest in him, including the Wildcats, "I really like what Kentucky has done with Patrick Patterson," said Gallon.

When the Kingwood Classic kicked off on Friday evening, 6-foot-9, 290 lb man-child Keith Gallon got off to a slow start. The Humble, Texas product started by missing not one, but two one-handed wide open slam dunks, then compounded the errors by picking up two quick fouls. Clearly frustrated, Houston Hoops Coach Marvin Low benched the big man for the remainder of the half.

"The refs weren't seeing some of the fouls out there and I was getting frustrated," Gallon said. His first half stat line was unimpressive: 6 minutes, 2 points on 1-6 FG shooting, 2 rebounds, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls.

Despite falling behind by nine points early to a lesser talented Rising Stars JG Gold team, the Hoops managed to build a 36-28 halftime lead, mostly behind outstanding play by Tommy Mason-Griffin, a 5-foot-11 speedster that can hit from the outside and pass with pin-point precision, and Augustine Rubit, a 6-foot-7 forward with smooth moves and a sweet jumper.

The second half started out with more of the same. Less than a minute into the second half Gallon picked up a third foul and found a seat on the bench again. "Coach told me to settle down and keep my head in the game," Gallon said, "so I listened to him."

Indeed he did.

When Gallon reentered the game at about the 10 minute mark, it appeared as if a whole new player had arrived. With the Hoops up just four points Gallon took charge, displaying a wide variety of post skills that had the fans cheering.

"Tiny", as he is known to most of his friends, dominated the paint the remainder of the game. His wide frame was used to set picks his opponents would tell you were painful and he took up so much space on the defensive end of the paint, he rarely had to leave his feet to clear rebounds. He has soft hands receiving the basketball in the paint, and is a surprisingly good passer into the paint when he steps out beyond the free throw line. He would finish with 9 rebounds and 11 points on the night – not a night he will remember for long but a good night considering how it had started.

Offensively, Gallon has a respectable, and developing shooting touch around the basket, though he gets many of his points from offensive rebounds and easy put backs. He also stepped out and hit his one three point attempt, though it was a "clank, clank, swirl, fall" shot. "Hey, it went in," said Gallon laughing, "I am not afraid to take those if the defense gives them to me."

With Gallon in gear, the rest of the team opened up the lead down the stretch and Houston beat a game, but clearly less talented Rising Stars team, despite a 19-point effort by Chicago native Cortney Bell.

On the court Gallon wears a serious, almost intimidating look on his face and walks with a swagger that communicates bad intentions. He talks to his teammates on the court and will also talk to his opponents as well. Off the court however, Gallon comes across as an affable and humble teddy bear, albeit a 300-lb teddy bear.

"My school list is changing all the time," Gallon says with an almost mischievous grin, "I have been getting a lot of calls from west coast schools of late like UCLA, Cal-Berkley, Oregon and USC. But LSU, Oklahoma and Kentucky have been high on my list for some time. I like Kansas a lot too."

Gallon, who finished last season averaging 10 points and 13 rebounds per game on his 34-4 team, seemed pretty knowledgeable about the schools that were expressing a lot of interest in him, including the Wildcats, "I really like what Kentucky has done with Patrick Patterson. Coach Gillispie played him a lot as a freshman and he really got the job done. That means a lot, knowing a coach will play a freshman if he goes out and gets the job done."

Billy Gillispie has known Gallon and his mother for some time, he said, "Coach has been to see me in high school a couple of times. I am hoping he is able to see me play here this weekend. I haven't been to see the campus yet, but at this point I do plan to go. It's all a matter of getting it all worked out."

Gallon says he is in no hurry to make a decision and remains open to other comers, "UCLA has been really calling a lot. Kansas has been showing more interest," Gallon said. When the time comes I plan to sit down with my mother and talk things through and just see what we think is best for me. It seems to change all the time, but right now if I were to pick my top three favorites they would be LSU, Oklahoma and UCLA. But I like Kentucky too. They are certainly one of the main ones."

Gallon also says he is on track academically, "I have been getting the best grades of my life lately, he said, "I don't believe grades will be an issue."



Strengths
Size and Strength, soft hands, rebounding on both ends of the floor. He knows how to position his body and has good instincts around the basket. He has some offensive skills around the basket now but needs improvement. Defensive presence.

Areas of opportunity
Footwork. Does a good job of getting the defensive rebound and getting the outlet pass, but often does not hustle down the court to follow the play. Needs work on his conditioning. Uses hands to defend, pick up cheap fouls. Needs work on free throws. Does not bend his knees well, tends to fall away as he is shooting the FT. Did not show much in the way of shot blocking skills.


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