Emmanuel Owootoah and Marlon King are both Canadians who moved to Kentucky to play basketball for former Kentucky and NBA player Rodrick Rhodes. On Friday night at Knotts County, the student section broke out into a “USA” chant in response to the players.
“They should have better class than that, man,” Owootoah said with some amusement after scoring 24 points in the game. “But at the same time, I thought it was funny. I don’t let stuff like that get to my head.” [kentucky.com]
While the taunting of the opposition for bringing in players has a long tradition (Owootoah is on the radar for several top programs, including Kentucky, Arizona, and UCLA), the issues facing Owootoah and King in Kentucky have gone beyond nationalistic chants at a basketball game. According to Adam Zagoria, the two Caribbean born players have also reportedly been tagged in Facebook and Twitter photos depicting a noose and flag burning. One such photo in the news story linked in Zagoria’s post shows a Canadian flag being burned, and another appears to contain the blurred out phrase F___ Canada. Their guardians also said that their back door has been shot at, and a mailbox destroyed in recent weeks.
Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2013 – he’s probably the best player in high school basketball right now – is Canadian. He’s expected to choose between Kentucky and Florida State (where his Dad went).