Recruiting Profile: Kiwi Gardner


This will be one of several deep dive look ins at 2011 recruiting for UW. Let’s take a look at one of Romar’s best point guard prospects.

by Craig YamadaEditor-In-Chief


Height: 5’7”

Position: PG

Class: 2011

Location: Manteca, CA

AAU Team(s): Drew Gooden Soldiers

Interested Schools: Alabama, Arizona, Cal, New Mexico, Old Dominion, Oregon State, San Francisco and Washington

If you haven’t seen Kiwi play, take a look at this highlight and also this one.

If you can recall watching some of AAU highlight reel clips of the Drew Gooden Soldiers, you always left yourself asking, who is that little dude that keeps feeding dimes to Jabari Brown? Meet Kiwi Gardner from Manteca, CA. Yes, your eyes are deceiving you. That is not IT with dreads in the picture above. Kiwi is actually his own person and a damn fine ball player at that.

Kiwi has flown under the national radar thus far as the bigger recruiting sites have not given him as much love as he is due. At 5’7”, Kiwi is a well balanced mixture of both scoring and dropping dimes. He is quick, aggressive and explosive. Kiwi can split defenses in two as he penetrates and has an act for find the open man down low. Hands down, he is one of the best ball handlers I have seen in a while. His game reminds me of a hybrid of both Isaiah Thomas and Jerome Randle. You can see many flashes of Isaiah Thomas in the way he attacks the paint and the way he handles the ball. He has an act for poking the ball loose from his defenders and seems to be a good fit for UW’s fast tempo style of game.

In a recent radio interview,  Mark Oliver, the Director of the Oakland Soldiers, did nothing but confirm Kiwi’s interest in UW as he mentioned that “Washington has great favor for Kiwi.” He went on to praise his AAU point guard for his leadership and toughness. “[He] is the backbone of our team, a real leader. He’s a team guy that makes others around him better.” He added that “people to tend to sleep on Kiwi, but is [the player] that gives the Soldiers the spark that contributes to winning.”

Kiwi leads the team in steals thus far this summer. Jabari Brown added that “Kiwi is a smothering type of defender that does not back down.”

In the last interview done with, Kiwi spoke of Washington as “[his] favorite school. I like the program, I like the coaches. I’ve been up there for camp and I like the atmosphere. It reminds me of a smaller San Francisco, so it’s cool.” If he does land at UW, he looks to be IT’s future successor as a hybrid PG/SG combo. With Venoy Overton graduating this year, UW will be in dire needs of a floor general and a spark coming off the bench on defense.

Kiwi has yet to receive an offer from UW, but is continuing to garner attention from several other schools as well. Old Dominion and USF have already offered, but he wants to play for a bigger name school. UW is believed to be in the hunt for other top PG prospects such as Jahii Carson (Oregon State de-commit) and five star rated Quinn Cook (Hyattsville, Maryland). And let’s not forget about the home town kid, Tony Wroten either. Although many believe he is Kentucky bound already, I wouldn’t bet against him staying home in Seattle to play for his home city. (More on all these guys soon). Cook sounds like a challenge to land as some have reported that his mother didn’t want him playing across the country where she couldn’t watch. Wroten, Carson and Gardner look to be UW’s top PG prospects at the time being. UW seems to be holding out for Wroten’s decision first and foremost before offering others. Welcome to a new recruiting roller coaster.

The Drew Gooden Soldiers AAU team is definitely becoming a hot bed of talent again as several 2011 prospects are beginning to generate recruiting buzz from this team: Jabari Brown, Kiwi Gardner, Nick Johnson and Kyle Wiltjer. The Soldiers also feature top prospects in the 2012 class with Brandon Ashley and Dominic Artis. Both of these guys look to be high on the Dawgs’ radar for next year as well. Let’s just hope Desmond Simmons can work his magic and build a pipeline from the Bay to the Dub.

Thanks for coming.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Craig Yamada Kiwi Gardner

  • 206er

    the dawgs need to starts offering some of these point guards. it would be huge to get him and brown in a package deal. we will need another floor general after venoy leaves and if gaddy has a breakout year, there’s a chance he could go a year early as well.

  • craiger

    206er… i totally agree. Thus far, Romar has officially offerred the following players:

    Tony Wroten, Jabari Brown, Norvel Pelle, Angelo Chol and Hikeem Stewart.

    Gardner and Carson should be next on this list in my opinion. Just hope we don’t miss out on these guys if Wroten drags this out until next Spring.

  • Michael

    Craiger are you basing who has been offered on Scouts records? I would guess we probably have not offered stewert and more likely have offered rivers and several other more highly regarded prospects across the country.

  • uwhoop

    Another guard who I have heard a lot of good things about is a kid from NorCal by the name of Josiah Turner. If my memory serves me correctly, people have said he is a guard with one of the best feels for the game in the country. I haven’t seen him play, so I can’t speak about him personally, but there are a bunch of Pac-10, Big East and ACC schools after this kid from Sacramento.

  • craiger

    Josiah is high on a lot of people’s radar. He is the complete package from what I have seen thus far. However I haven’t heard his name and UW in the same sentence just yet. Being a member of the Soldiers, its hard to believe that Romar isn’t going hard after this kid, but Jabari Brown is probably priority #1 from that team.

  • Evan

    So is his name pronounced like the fruit?
    I would really like to see Romar not let Wroten hold him up from getting signees.
    If we could somehow get Brown and Gardner, that would be awesome!

  • Venoying

    In the championship game Gaddy played less than 4 minutes, 1 assist, and 2 turnovers. Gaddy is looking more and more like a bust. Instead of dominating and getting his swagger back he has been playing limited minutes while kids 1 weeks out of high school have been taking his minutes. If Gaddy wants any chance of going pro he is going to have to work like Quincy did in between his junior and senior year, for the next 3 years. I hope he has the right people in his life telling him that he needs get his ass in gear.
    Thank God we have Overton, seems like he’s been mostly forgotten as of late… if he can improve his shot this summer and get a little bit more under control I think we’ll be in great shape.

  • craiger

    Michael – My offer list was based on Scout alone. I have seen a few limited highlights of Stewart and honestly have not been blown away. He looks to be average to me. I was as surprised as you were when he received an offer.

    It looks to me as if Romar is targeting players he really has a shot at. Rivers is definitely a long shot at this point. It sounds like it will come down to Duke, Florida and NC. Prying him from the East will definitely be a challenge.

  • GrantUW

    Romar, offer Kiwi Gardner NOW!!! I don’t want to lose this kid so that we can say we were runner up for some super recruit who ends up at UK or Duke or UNC. We have no shot at Rivers, and Wroten is going to drag out his decision to the end no matter where he goes. Garner is short, which is why he will never be a 5 star recruit. And honestly, stars are mostly based on potential NBA prospects, which we don’t care about.

    Bottom line, Kiwi has handles, athleticism, he can shoot and he can drive. Sounds like the perfect replacement for IT.

    Someone tell Desmond Simmons to get on the phone with Kiwi and Jabari Brown.

  • D. Devil’s Advocate. Esq.

    Gardener is a head case (he losT most of a season for shoving a ref), and most of the time almost out of control. He’s maybe 5’5 in bare feet and skinny. He’s not the type of player that can carry the load for a good team in a power conference. UK? UNC? DUKE?! You can’t be serious, Grant, there’s no way he’s an SEC or ACC caliber player.

  • http://youtube Ketrick Boyd

    Kiwi gardner is the truth and thats the bottom line. If you dont get him you got problems. K.boyd