UK Recruiting

Leslie hits Lexington

As his Bluegrass Baptist School team headed onto the floor Friday night, Coach Keith Peel nodded when asked if his Christians were about to be fed to basketball lions.

"It's David and Goliath if there ever was one," he said, crossing over on the biblical analogies. "If we lose by 50 or 60, it is what it is."

To play against Word of God Christian Academy, John Wall's Raleigh, N.C.-based alma mater and now home for University of Kentucky recruiting target C.J. Leslie, made a 96-48 defeat worth it for Peel's low-flying Eagles.

Except for a contingent of Bluegrass Baptist fans larger than its high school enrollment of 80, the crowd filling about three-quarters of the bleachers at Lexington Catholic High came to see Goliath squish this opponent.

That crowd included UK Coach John Calipari and his players.

"That's love right there," Leslie said of the UK presence. "My former point guard coming to the game. I'm close to most of the team. I'm part of the family."

Leslie declined to say if he would join the family by signing with Kentucky. He noted a list of college options that also included Florida, Oregon and North Carolina State.

Wall, who visited the Word of God locker room with UK teammate DeMarcus Cousins after the game, has been lobbying for the Cats.

"He's having fun," Leslie said. "He's telling me I can basically do the same thing. He wants me to come."

But if Leslie signs with Kentucky, would Wall be around next season to pass him the ball?

That question put a big smile on Leslie's face.

"I guess you've got to wait and see," he said.

Leslie got the rout started in style. He took a fast-break lob and threw down a reverse dunk 22 seconds after somehow losing the opening tip.

"That's what I'm used to," he said of the dunk. "I'm used to that now."

That started a 20-0 Word of God run. Bluegrass Baptist did not score for almost six minutes, then suffered the indignity of Xavier-bound junior Dez Wells making a half-court heave to set the first quarter score of 32-7.

Leslie already seemed to be losing interest. He had the ball stolen when he carelessly began to dribble in front of a defender. In the second quarter, he grabbed a rebound flat-footed.

By halftime, Word of God had missed five dunks and led 52-24.

Leslie, a versatile forward measured at 6-foot-7 at an NBA-sponsored camp for prospects last spring, scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in less than 18 minutes.

As he left the floor, children (and a few adults) lined up for autographs. Leslie signed T-shirts and basketballs. He posed for pictures.

"You all have the best fans I've ever seen," he said. "I see more fans here than at home."

2011 target also in town

Quality Education (N.C) forward Quincy Miller, the No. 7 recruit in the Class of 2011, played at Lexington Christian on Friday. Miller, who is considering Kentucky, had 17 points and four rebounds in his team's 58-57 loss to Mountain State (W.Va.).

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