Khalif Wyatt, a rising senior guard out of Norristown High is headed to the Atlantic 10.
On The Verge
Wyatt, a 6-3 guard from Norristown High School, accepted Coach Fran Dunphy's offer and verbally committed to the Owls on Monday. He'll sign his National Letter-of-Intent in November.
A month ago, it appeared that Wyatt would be choosing between schools from the MAAC, America East, or maybe the lower end of the Colonial Athletic Association or the A-10. Now he's ticketed to join the defending A-10 champs.
"Khalif really played well for us this summer," said Brown, the head coach of Team Final, an AAU squad that once featured Temple freshman Ramone Moore. "He got a lot of exposure nationally.
"When we went down to the Peach Jam (Nike's signature AAU Tournament held each July in North Augusta, S.C.), he held his own against some of the best players in the country. I think that's when a lot of bigger schools started to notice and take a real interest in him."
The Owls had been following Wyatt's progress for awhile, but didn't uptick their interest until recently. He visited the campus this past weekend and immediately followed with a verbal commitment.
Brown said there's no doubt that Wyatt can compete at the highest level of the college game, though he wouldn't have made the same comment four years ago, when he first saw Wyatt in the eighth grade.
"He was chubby," Brown said.
Chubby like former Philadelphia high school star Maureece Rice?
"Even more chubby," Brown said. "I wouldn't call him fat. But he was chubbier than Maureece Rice. But you could still see his shiftiness and he could shoot the ball. He's always been a scorer."
Wyatt had a (vertical) growth spurt in the first few years of high school, which "stretched him out some" and made him a genuine Division I prospect, according to Brown. But it wasn't until he lost 20 pounds over the past 12 months that schools like Temple and La Salle became more interested.
"He's not really quick, but he's shifty, he's got great head and shoulder fakes and he's always under control," Brown said. "He's just really got a knack for scoring."
Wyatt's biggest weakness is on the other end of the floor.
"He's got to get better on defense," Brown said. "And what it comes down to is he really doesn't put in the effort on defense that he needs to. He's programmed to score, and he's never been asked to lock in and defend somebody."
Brown said Wyatt is athletic enough to play good defense, if he so desires.
"He moves well enough laterally," Brown said. "And he knows, I'm sure, that he's not going to be able to get on the floor at Temple if he doesn't play defense."
Though he can handle the ball pretty well, Wyatt is not a future point guard candidate, according to his AAU coach.
"He's a two," Brown said. "He can handle the ball a little bit. But he's a two. He can really shoot the ball, spotting up or pulling up off one or two dribbles."
This summer, the rest of the country began to see what Brown and the basketball fans in Norristown have been seeing for the last few years. But Temple pulled the trigger with a scholarship offer before anyone else could steal him away.
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