Montrose Christian forward Ishmail Wainright sat in the stands at Episcopal High last Friday afternoon with a pained expression on his face. The Kansas City native was watching some old friends on the USA Midwest team take on Brazil as part of the Nike Global Challenge that took place in Alexandria and Washington this past weekend and longed to be on the court.
A self-described basketball junkie, Wainright received some bad news recently. A visit to the doctor revealed a stress fracture in his left foot, an injury that will force him to undergo surgery this week to insert two pins to the area.
Wainright, a standout on Team Takeover this offseason, will miss the important July recruiting cycle and likely won’t return to the court until October.
But that hasn’t stopped the rising senior from becoming one of the more sought after recruits in the country since arriving at Montrose Christian last fall. In fact, the injury could help the 6-6 forward sift through more than 25 scholarship offers.
“I have offers that I want but there’s still offers that I still want,” Wainright said with a smile. “But it is what it is. I can’t play, so we’re gonna see by the end of October or the end of this month who’s really recruiting me and who really wants me at their school. I know for sure I’ll be bigger and better when I get back.
“It’s overwhelming. There’s so many schools, so many relationships. It’s not gonna be a late decision, but I’m not really favoring anyone right now. I’m just waiting them all out.”
The schools chasing Wainright include powerhouses like Kansas, Duke, Syracuse, Florida, Ohio State, UCLA, Arizona, Missouri, Baylor and Texas, and he plans to cut his list down some time in August.
When Wainright was able to play this spring in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League, he showed off an improved jump shot and a multi-dimensional skill set that allowed him to play a hybrid point forward position if needed. College coaches are also enamored with his ability to guard multiple positions on the defensive end thanks to broad shoulders and a 220-pound frame that look better suited for the gridiron.
“I feel good about everything,” Wainright said. “This time was the perfect time to get my shot where I wanted it and right now it’s nice. That was my one weakness coming into the summer and now I’m extending out.”
For now, though, he’s limited to perfecting his shooting form by practicing from a chair in the Montrose Christian gym.
Wainright said his goal for next year is to become a McDonald’s all-American. He expects to be fully healthy in time for the high school season, where he was already looking forward to an expanded role now that All-Mets Justin Anderson (Virginia) and forward Michael Carrera, and center Kevin Larsen (George Washington) have graduated.
“Last year, I was a part of the team. I was a leader, but it was Justin’s team,” Wainwright said. “Now it’s my team.”
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