Kansas State is the latest high-major program to offer Oakland Park Northeast 6-foot-5 2021 guard Wesley Cardet Jr.
The Wildcats, out of the Big 12 Conference, offered Cardet a scholarship on Friday. Cardet plays for the same travel basketball program, Team Breakdown, that K-State 2020 signee Selton Miguel played with.
The scholarship offer is the third this week for Cardet, following calls from Iona and Maryland. The consensus 4-star and top-100 prospect also holds prior offers from Alabama, Dayton, Florida, Iowa State, Miami and USC.
“Kansas State, they were the latest school to offer him,” Northeast coach Zach Gillion said Friday. “The first one [this week] was Maryland. Maryland has been in contact with me and Wes for the past like two weeks just to see would Maryland be an interesting spot for him. I told them that Maryland is a prestigious basketball school. Definitely, definitely. And also I have a brother that stays in Maryland. They called, we got on a Zoom call with the head coach and they offered him. And then Iona had been in contact with us also and they offered him.”
Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon told Gillion he likes Cardet as a point guard on the next level. Kansas State plays more of a position-less system, while “Iona wants to be the Gonzaga of the East,” Gillion said.
Cardet led a young Northeast squad to a 21-7 mark in 2019-20. He posted a double-double (19 points/10 rebounds) in the Hurricanes’ final game when Northeast was eliminated by Pembroke Pines Charter in Class 5A regional semifinals. Three of Northeast’s seven losses came vs. California programs over the holidays and the Hurricanes went 2-2 vs. 5A state finalist Pines Charter.
Just what makes Cardet stand out in college coaches’ eyes as one of the top guards in the South?
“The first thing is being a big guard,” Gillion said. “To be 6-5, being a ball-handler, a play-maker, separates him from everybody else because a lot of the decision-makers and play-makers are 5-11, 6-foot, 6-1, 6-2 at most. Wes is 6-5. So that stands out.
“Also, Wes is a legit 200 pounds. So he is bigger than those guys but still agile. They like his size and skill in combination.”
Cardet came back strong in his junior season in 2019-2020 after battling through tendinitis his sophomore year and the following summer.
It was serious enough that a doctor recommended surgery. But the family decided against going under the knife.
“At the beginning of last year he had severe tendinitis in his left knee,” Gillion said. “For any right-handed guy, that’s the knee you explode off of — that’s the leg you explode off of — and he couldn’t. Wes pretty much had to teach himself how to jump off his right knee and use more of his left hand.
“He played through it. Wes played 17-and-under [travel basketball on the Under Armour circuit] — while the rest of those guys were playing 16-and-under — with tendinitis and he couldn’t explode off his left foot. And he still did good.”
The Northeast High standout began to feel better this past year and he regained the athleticism he showed in prior years. Cardet was named second-team All-State in Class 5A.
Look for Cardet & Co. to be a major player in 2020-21. Four members of the Hurricanes’ starting lineup — Cardet, Jameon Harris (2021) and twins Matthew & Ryan Bewley (2023) — hold multiple Division I offers.
However, don’t look for Cardet to make a college choice anytime soon.
“He’s going to commit late, so he’s not even close,” Gillion said Friday.
If you have high school or travel basketball news, you can reach Pat Lammer at PatALammer@Gmail.com