The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Whitefield Academy guard will continue his basketball career on the college level in the Southeastern Conference after committing to Georgia on Tuesday.
Gaines could not be reached for comment, but Whitefield coach Tyrone Johnson believes playing at the quickly rising program will be a great opportunity for the senior.
“I knew when Kenny first came to Whitefield that he had untapped potential, and he has come a long way to fulfill that potential,” Johnson said. “It’s good to see Kenny get a chance to play on the next level. He definitely deserves this opportunity.”
Johnson said Gaines had a handful of other major-conference schools pursuing him, but said that Gaines simply felt like that Georgia was the right school for him.
“Kenny had quite a few schools recruiting him,” Johnson said. “He had Georgia Tech, Clemson, South Carolina and Iowa also recruiting him, and all those coaches did a good job in recruiting him. But when Kenny went on his official visit to Georgia, I knew that he had his heart set on Georgia.”
Gaines averaged 21 points per game as a junior last year as he helped lead Whitefield Academy to its third consecutive appearance in the state semifinals.
Gaines will join a Georgia recruiting class that also includes Milton’s Charles Mann, the state’s No. 1-ranked point guard according to Rivals.
“It’s going to be a huge adjustment playing in the SEC, but Kenny has the game to play at Georgia,” Johnson said. “He obviously is a very athletic player, and he will have the opportunity to play there and contribute.”
With his future in college basketball now secured, Gaines is now free to focus on his senior season at Whitefield, which was exactly what Gaines desired according to Johnson.
“It’s kind of hard to play at Whitefield Academy,” Johnson said. “We demand a lot of our players, and Whitefield is a tough school academically, so it’s a good thing for Kenny to get this done before the season so he can focus on what he needs to do here. That was the plan from the very beginning, to wrap this up before the start of the season, and we’re glad that he was able to do that.”
Gaines will lead a Whitefield team that is once again expected to contend for the state title in Class A. The Wolfpack have a bitter taste in their mouths after losing to Terrell County in the state semifinals last season.