Elliot Cadeau is well aware that he’s widely regarded as the top point guard in the 2024 class—just don’t expect him to care at this point.
His plan is more future-focused as it pertains to national recruiting rankings.
“It doesn’t matter where I’m at right now in any rankings,” Gift says. “It would mean more to stay at the top at my position when I’m done with high school. At the end of the day, a ranking is just a number beside your name, so I don’t really care about those. I feel like I have a lot to prove.”
Gift’s appointment is even more impressive considering that the sample size of his evaluations is small.
The 6’1” floor general sat out for his entire sophomore season with a severe ankle injury and said he only reached 100% in late July at the Nike Peach Jam, where he pumped in 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds a game for the New York Lightning. That included a 15-point, eight-assist, seven-rebound outing against Team CP3 (NC) and Kentucky point guard commit Robert Dillingham and a 16-point, nine-assist outing against All Ohio and combo guard George Washington III, who decommitted from Ohio State earlier this month.
The following month, Cadeau was named MVP of the FIBA U18 European Division B after dropping 36 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals to lead Sweden to the championship. Cadeau, who was born in New Jersey, has dual citizenship in the US and Sweden because his mother, Michelle Cadeau, is Swedish.
“It was a great experience being able to play for the National team and get that experience,” Cadeau says. “The coaches haven’t really seen me a lot over the last year, but now I’m back to 100%, so they’ll be able to see more of what I can do.”
Some schools have seen enough.
Gift’s most recent offers are from Texas, North Carolina, Kansas, Baylor and Louisville. He’ll take his first official visit to Texas Tech at the end of this month, head to Louisville in October and is “looking to set up” visits to Baylor and North Carolina. Gift remains in constant contact with Kentucky assistant KT Turner but has yet to talk to John Calipari.
Most of those schools joined other programs to watch Gift at Link Academy (Branson, Mo.) this week and last week as the NCAA’s recruiting period began on Sept. 9.
“The recruiting process has been pretty cool,” Cadeau says. “Right now, I’m just getting to know the coaches and staying open.”
Gift first started watching college basketball three years ago during Texas Tech’s run to the Final Four and instantly became a fan of the Red Raiders.
“They know that, and they definitely try and use that to their advantage,” Cadeau says with a laugh. “It won’t affect my decision. I just liked that team the most when I started watching, and I just stuck with them. When I got the offer from them, it was really big for me at the time. It was the first high major school that offered me.”
Now he boasts a virtual who’s who of college basketball heavyweights circling his every move, a transition Gift feels confident will continue to yield offers.
“I think I deserve more offers, but I haven’t been seen a lot,” Gift says. “I’m not trippin’ at all. I’m gonna show them this season.”
The late summer dominance should provide a preview of what is to come from the Lions backcourt this season.
Cadeau’s exceptional quickness enables him to change pace and keep defenders off balance, his vision is elite, and his 45-inch vertical leap makes him a nightmare of a total package at the point.
“I need a system that has good players around me,” Gift says. “As a pass-first point guard, I want guys around me that can catch lobs and knock down shots at a high level. I want to be in a system where there’s a lot of talent to get the ball to. Passing comes natural to me.”
Up until three years ago, Gift had never implemented scoring into his offensive attack. After averaging 11 assists and just two shot attempts a game in the seventh grade, Cadeau began polishing his offensive skills as an eighth grader.
“I played in a bunch of lower level leagues to get comfortable shooting and scoring,” Cadeau says. “It came pretty natural to me, but I still consider myself a pass-first point guard. More than that, though, I just want to win. That’s it. I’m gonna do whatever it takes to win. A lot of people say that, but I mean it. I hate to lose. After sitting out a whole season, I’m more excited than I’ve ever been to do everything that I can to win. I think that’s what the coaches will like most about me.”
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