WASHINGTON, D.C. — It’s probably unfair to compare anyone to Andrew Wiggins.
But because he attended the same Canadian secondary school, attends the same high school, plays for the same AAU program and approaches the game the same way as Wiggins, 6-foot-6 junior Montaque Gill-Caesar has drawn comparisons.
“If there’s anything close to Wiggins it’s ‘Teki’ right there because [of] all the similarities,” CIA Bounce coach Tony McIntyre, who coached Wiggins and now coaches Gill-Caesar, told SNY.tv.
“His jump shot, his athleticism, his mannerisms, the way he approaches the game, the way he plays hard. He’s quiet, and just a great motor. He’s going to be real special.”
Rob Fulford, who coached Wiggins at Huntington (W.V) Prep and now coaches Gill-Caesar there, believes it’s unfair to compare the two players.
“They are totally different players,” he told SNY.tv. “They are from the same high school and are both very laid back, extremely nice kids. Any specific basketball comparisons about the two as players aren’t fair to Teki. Just like everyone comparing Wiggs to LeBron isn’t fair. I’m not a fan of comparisons. Teki and Andrew are very different players.”
Gill-Caesar was named International Co-MVP at this past weekend’s Nike Global Challenge, sharing the honors with fellow Canadian Chris Egi. Gill-Caesar went for 18 points and 11 rebounds in the fifth-place game against Pan Africa.
As for the Wiggins comparisons, Gill-Caesar doesn’t completely dismiss them.
“I take little things but at the same time I’m my own player,” he told SNY.tv. “I try to add some of my own stuff to my game, but yeah he’s helped me a lot.”
The two both attended Vaughan Secondary School in Ontario and ultimately came to Huntington (W.V.) Prep. They were teammates last year and remain very close friends, even with Wiggins now off to Kansas after perhaps the most hyped recruitment in recent history.
“I talk to him every day just to see how he’s doing at school, what college is like,” Gill-Caesar said of Wiggins, now in summer school at Kansas. “He gives me a lot of advice. He told me athleticism is not really going to get you that far.”
As far as his own recruitment, Gill-Caesar holds offers from Baylor, West Virginia, Illinois, Purdue, Ohio State and Alabama, according to Fulford.
He also has interest from Kentucky and recently got a call from head coach John Calipari.
“He just said he likes my improvements,” he said. “When he saw me during the season he likes how I handle the ball, how I handle the pressure.”
As far as pressure, Gill-Caesar said he saw what Wiggins went through with his wild recruitment, which dragged on until mid-May.
Asked what he learned from that experience, Gill-Caesar said, “I just learn how to stay poised and keep my composure.”
Like Wiggins, Gill-Caesar could also opt to reclassify from 2015 to 2014, but said that is not a major concern at this point.
“Maybe, I never know,” he said. “I just gotta see how the school season pans out and just go from there.”
One thing’s for sure.
Gill-Caesar is part of a rising tide of Canadian talent.
If Wiggins goes No. 1 overall in the 2014 NBA Draft as expected, it will mark back-to-back seasons that Canadians go No. 1 following Anthony Bennett’s selection this year.
“We’re on the upcome,” he said. “People are realizing what we’re capable of. They’re learning that we’re a force to be reckoned with and Canadian basketball players are something to be known.”
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