Ken Wooten had long dreamed of playing college basketball.
Manteca High’s 6-foot-8 senior with the 7-2 wingspan and hops – try a 38.9 -inch vertical leap – took that first step, making it official Wednesday by committing to the University of Nevada-Reno during National signing Day.
“It’s the best fit for me,” he said at an early signing period event held at Winter Gym.
Wooten was joined by his parents – Coletta and Ken Wooten Sr. – as well as other members of his family, the Buffaloes coaching staff and school officials.
He had choices of other colleges but was impressed with the Wolf Pack and their coach, Eric Musselman. “He’s also connected with the NBA,” Wooten said.
His parents are thrilled to have their son playing close enough to home. “He’s not too far from family,” Coletta Wooten said.
Manteca coach Brett Lewis and Vice Principal / Athletic Director Bill Slikker couldn’t recall the last time a player from the program signed on to play basketball for a Division I college.
The Wolf Pack’s recruiting class was ranked as the consensus No. 2 class in the Mountain West and 35th nationally.
“We’re extremely excited about this 2016 recruiting class,” Musselman said in a press release. “The staff put in a lot of work, we got a lot accomplished in a short amount of time and it’s really exciting day for everybody in Wolf Pack nation.”
Wooten joins 6-6 small forward Josh Hall (Genesis Academy, Detroit), 5-10 point guard Devearl Ramsey (Sierra Canyon High, Chatsworth CA), and 6-9 forward Sam Williams (Hug High / Mt. San Jacinto College, Reno).
Lewis noted Nevada-Reno is getting more than a great player in Wooten, who was forced to sit out last season after transferring from Stagg High.
“He took it in stride,” the MHS coach said. “Ken was never late to practice and always worked hard.”
Wooten also showed strong support for his teammate. “He was our best cheerleader,” Lewis said.
As for Wooten, he can’t wait to get back on the court to help lead his Buffaloes.
“I’m super excited and motivated,” he said.