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Saturday, May 14, 2011
Get to know Providence's Kiwi Gardner

By Diamond Leung

Ed Cooley's signing of guard Kiwi Gardner on Friday means that one of the most eye-popping players in the nation is coming to Providence.

Gardner played for the star-studded Oakland Soldiers AAU team that included Jabari Brown (Oregon), Nick Johnson (Arizona) and Kyle Wiltjer (Kentucky). He didn't command nearly as much recruiting attention as his teammates in ESPU's top 25 did, but did emerge as a YouTube sensation for his stylish play.

The 5-foot-7, 155-pound Gardner can dunk, is creative as a passer, and has a variety of ankle-breaking moves off the dribble. He wears a smile, dreadlocks and the blue shoes trotted out by the Soldiers. In the Big East, the little guy could quickly become a fan favorite.

Cooley believes the Manteca, Calif. native can succeed after playing his senior season at Westwind Prep Academy in Phoenix.

"Kiwi Gardner is an exciting basketball player and we are looking forward to having him as part of our team next season," Cooley said in a statement.

"Kiwi has great speed with the basketball and that enables him to get to the basket. He also plays tenacious defense and we need that from all of our players."

Check out Gardner's mixtape put together by Yay Area's Finest.