Applewhite signs with Missisippi State

Jordan Wells

After taking a last-minute visit to Mississippi State on Tuesday, Class of 2012 guard Andre Applewhite signed with the Bulldogs on Thursday, choosing them over WKU, the College of Charleston, and Tennessee.

Applewhite announced his decision at his high school, Memphis (Tenn.) Central.

“I really liked (MSU coach Rick) Ray,” Applewhite told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “He looked me in the eye and told me what I needed to get better on.”

The 24 hours leading up to Applewhite’s decision were full of tension for some WKU and Mississippi State fans who took to social media on Wednesday and sent tweets to his Twitter account, @DreApplewhite3, advocating for their respective schools.

Later in the morning, @WKUSports and @TopsCompliance both sent tweets reminding fans that contacting potential student athletes via social media is against NCAA rules.

Applewhite’s decision to sign with Mississippi State means WKU still has two vacant scholarships for the 2012-2013 season.

WKU’s top two remaining targets are Chicago forward Eddie Alcantara and Connecticut transfer Michael Bradley.

Alcantara, a forward from Chicago Hales Franciscan High School, said his remaining list of schools included WKU, Arkansas, Virginia Tech, Missouri State and San Francisco.

He said one of the biggest factors in his final decision will be his relationship with coaches, adding he really liked WKU head coach Ray Harper’s coaching style.

“I’m a team-oriented guy. Everybody likes to win,” he said. “And those are the kind of guys Coach Harper wants here. I know my teammates would be just like me.”

As a junior at Hales Franciscan, Alcantara helped lead his team to the Illinois Class 2A state championship, scoring 15 points in a 61-47 win over Murphysboro High School.

He went on to average more than 20 points and 10 rebounds a game as a senior, shooting better than 40 percent from 3 point range.

He said his favorite thing about his WKU visit was learning about the school’s nationally-ranked journalism program.

“I’m really into media, especially television production,” he said. “That was a huge factor to me.”

While WKU fans can look for Alcantara’s decision on May 1 — his birthday — a decision from Bradley could come sooner.

Bradley was officially released from his scholarship to UConn earlier this week, indicating his final decision on transferring closer to his hometown of Chattanooga, Tenn., after his grandmother was recently diagnosed with cancer.

The 6-foot-10 center had offers from UConn, Georgia, Drake and Virginia Commonwealth coming out of his senior high school season.