Keyon Menifield Jr. had the distinction of attending his first college basketball game in person on Saturday afternoon when he watched Washington and Oregon State get after it at Alaska Airlines Arena, with the Huskies winning 78-67.
It won’t be his last.
“I hadn’t had a visit before,” Menifield said.
The 6-foot-2 point guard from Flint, Michigan, by way of a Phoenix prep school is one of three recruits joining the Huskies next season along with 6-foot-3 guard Koren Johnson and 6-foot-7 forward Tyler Linhardt from Seattle’s Garfield and King’s High Schools, respectively.
The UW is counting on a future Keyon and Koren backcourt.
Sort of wide-eyed as it took it all in, Menifield some day could provide the Huskies with a high-scoring player maybe similar to Terrell Brown Jr. He tends to create plays rather than sit on the perimeter and just launch shots, similar to Brown. At least that’s what coach Mike Hopkins and his staff envision.
“He’s really slight but he knows how to do it,” Hopkins said. “When you start seeing some of your favorite players that you idolize are Jamal Crawford and Steph Curry and those guys, it’s that wiry movement, elite athlete who just knows how to dance kind of player.”
As for never seeing a college game before live, he’s simply been too busy playing.
Reclassifying from 2021 to delay his college entry, Menifield averaged 26 points, 9.3 rebounds and 6.6 steals per game for Flint’s Beecher High School. He led the Buccaneers to a Michigan state championship and was named 3A Player of the Year. He had 37 points in the title game against a school named Iron Mountain.
The Huskies were surprised but pleased that he wasn’t more heavily recruited, with the bigger schools possibly concerned about his slender physique.
In the end, Menifield had offerings from Boston College, Massachusetts, St. Bonaventure, St. Louis, Eastern Michigan, Pacific, Cleveland State and New Mexico State.
Yet the Huskies saw him play AAU ball, which he dominated at times last summer, leading the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League in scoring at 22.6 ppg. He had a 56-point game.
Menifield now keeps himself basketball ready by spending a post-graduate year at Phoenix Prep in Arizona. He has a postseason tournament left to play.
Then he can take in all the college games he desires, in uniform, at his scoring best.
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