George Fant commits to WKU

11 10 2010

At the end of the day, George Fant chose the mile or so walk over the 500-mile plane ride.

The Warren Central senior big man made the official announcement this afternoon that he will indeed play his college basketball down the road in his hometown for Western Kentucky.

Fant – a Rivals.com three-star prospect – ultimately chose WKU over Penn State, Iowa and several others.

“After all these years, I only started playing in seventh grade, I never thought I’d be a high major player like this – I just want to thank God mostly,” Fant said today. “It would have been very hard (to say no to WKU), my cousin Jim McDaniels played there, that would have been the hardest part – telling him I’m not coming to Western Kentucky.

“I had a lot of respect for those Penn State coaches, I loved Iowa, but Western was home for me.”

Fant joins three-star shooting guard Derrick Gordon (from New Jersey) and three-star center Deng Leek (from North Carolina) as WKU’s current commits for the 2011 season. He also mentioned the names of both California four-star point guard Cezar Guerrero and Christian County point guard Anthony Hickey as players he’d like to see offer their commitments as well.

Fant said that he hopes to eventually turn himself into a three-position at WKU, and said that the staff has said the same thing. At Warren Central, the 6-7, 220-pound Fant has spent the majority of his career in the paint.

Asked whether or not his famous cousin, and perhaps the greatest WKU player ever, would un-retire his famous No. 44 for him – Fant said he wasn’t sure, but that it would certainly be something he’d be honored by.

“That’d be an honor and those would be big shoes to fill, he’s Jim McDaniels, the best player ever to come through Western Kentucky and the best to come out of this region,” Fant said. “I don’t know if he’d do it for anyone else, It’d be a family thing, but I don’t know – that’s his number. He worked so hard to get that retired. I don’t know.”

Warren Central coach Tim Riley added that he’s very proud of how far Fant has come as a player during his prep days, and that he felt all along that WKU would ultimately be Fant’s final destination.

“When he came here as a freshman I thought he’d have a chance to be really good, but the kid got offers from the ACC, Big Ten, SEC, I didn’t know it would go to that length,” Riley said. “Now I can practice till 7:30 and drive up there to watch him, just like when (former WKU and Warren Central player) Matt Maresca was there, and that’ll be nice, there’s no doubt. But I’ve told George all along that he had to be happy with this decision, there’s been a lot of pressure from a lot of people for him to stay home and I tried not to be that pressure guy. It couldn’t be something where he thought he was doing (WKU) a favor by going there, it had to be because that’s where he wants to go to school, that’s where he wants to play and that’s who he wants to coach him.

“He’s got a very strong support group here that a lot of kids don’t have.”

As far as what type of player Riley expects Fant to become, comparisons to Steffphon Pettigrew eventually came up – as Pettigrew entered WKU as primarily a dominant post player in high school before eventually turning into a swingman that can also dominate on the block.

“His game has continually progressed further and further away from the basket,” Riley said. “And it continues to go out every year, George is a little more fluid than Steffphon – but Steffphon’s a great, great player.”

We’ll have a full story on Fant’s decision in Tuesday’s Daily News.

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