C.J. Keyser watched many Wichita State basketball games last season and he paid close attention to Tekele Cotton, the Shockers’ star defender.
Keyser, like Cotton, is the rare high school player who fully embraces defense and excels. On Thursday, Keyser gave Wichita State a non-binding commitment and said he plans to sign with the Shockers in November. He spent last season at Sunrise Christian Academy, in Bel Aire, before moving to Brewster Academy in New Hampshire for a post-graduate season.
“I was at almost every game and I know exactly how they do things,” Keyser said. “It was like another home.”
Keyser (6-foot-4, 180 pounds), from Baltimore, was coached by Kyle Lindsted at Sunrise last year. Lindsted was hired as an assistant coach at WSU in June. Keyser committed to Colorado State while at Sunrise, then decided in July to attend Brewster Academy.
“He really fits the mantra of what Wichita State does,” said Corey Evans, managing editor at Hoop Seen. “Defensively, the program sold him as the next Tekele Cotton. That’s who he is. He’s going to be a defensive stopper.”
Keyser wants the job of lockdown defender, a role Cotton ruled as a two-time Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Cotton is now playing professionally in Germany.
“I learned a lot from watching him,” Keyser said. “He anticipates play. He gets a lot of hands on ball.”
ESPN.com ranks Keyser a four-star prospect. Rivals.com ranks him a three-star prospect.
“He’s an electric ball-player,” Evans said. “He’s so fierce and competitive. He’s really improved on his jumper and he works well on the baseline. When push comes to shove, he’s getting to the basket. He has an unbelievable first step.”
Athletes can sign with schools beginning Nov. 11. WSU coaches cannot comment on athletes until they sign.
Keyser said he also considered Utah, Nebraska and Long Beach State.
Keyser is the first player from the class of 2016 to commit to WSU. Guard Peyton Allen, a transfer from Texas A&M, joined the team this summer and is redshirting this season. He will have three seasons of eligibility beginning in 2016-17.
Minnesota signs Nick Wiggins — Former Shocker Nick Wiggins signed a non-guaranteed summer contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
He will join Andrew Wiggins, his younger brother, in training camp with the Timberwolves. Nick Wiggins spent most of last season with the Idaho Stampede in the NBA Development League.