By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
Colleges have one more chance to see Kenny Paul Geno in a high school uniform.
Geno is the area’s only all-star in today’s Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game, scheduled for 7 p.m. on the campus of Alabama State in Montgomery.
Geno (6-foot-6, 190) already has his share of scholarship offers, from Mercer, Lamar, Jacksonville State, Radford, Union and Delta State. Interest is coming from New Orleans, Georgia, Troy, South Alabama, Middle Tennessee State, Florida Gulf Coast, Mississippi State, Belhaven, Blue Mountain and the state’s junior colleges.
Geno, who did not speak to the media during the season, said future teammates will play a big role in his decision.
“Teammates is the big part, everybody’s been telling me,” Geno said. “How much I like the school, people at the school, coaches…”
Geno has become one of the state’s most prolific dunkers, averaging 22.3 points and 13.8 boards per game this season.
His first offer came after the summer’s AAU season with the Meridian Phenoms. He helped lead the Blue Devils to three straight Class 3A state championship games, winning it all in 2011.
A Mississippi State fan, Geno admittedly would like to play for the Bulldogs but without the team offering a scholarship, he’s okay with going elsewhere if that status doesn’t change.
“That’s always been my dream, to play at State. “I’ve been going to State basketball games since Winsome Frazier was playing,” Geno said. “At the beginning, that’s what I wanted to do.”
Geno has taken unofficial visits to Mercer, Arkansas State and South Alabama. There is no timetable for choosing. Signing period begins April 17.
Booneville coach Michael Smith has credited Geno and his teammates with how they’ve handled the extra attention. Geno and his team agreed to keep everything internal, from his recruitment to not speaking individually with the media until after the final game of each season.
Smith said eight coaches called after Geno’s first AAU tournament.
“I think as you move through it, you realize that everybody does not have the sincere interest of the kid,” Smith said. “I want somebody to appreciate him for who he is. He’s a really good player, but he’s a lot better person.”
The girls all-star game precedes at 5. Christy Clark (New Site), Jazmine Spears (New Albany), Jayla Chills (Ripley) and Alexus Malone (Oxford) represent Mississippi.