This week’s Orange Panther of the Week is sophomore men’s basketball point guard Kai Wade. This season, the Orange men’s basketball team won the Central Conference championship, its first conference title since 2017. Wade’s explosive first step off the ball has become his trademark since he started as a freshman last season. His synchronicity with teammates Coleman Cloer, Xandrell Pennix and Freddie Sneed is evident with the way Wade runs the Orange offense. Another Wade wrinkle is his pull-up jumper, which he used to tie up the season-opener against Hillside in November, leading to an Orange win. On January 23, Wade had a season-high 20 points in the Panthers 75-67 win over Eastern Alamance, which put the Panthers in first place in the Central Conference for good. In Orange’s conference opener against Southern Alamance on December 14, Wade scored 15 points, but the Panthers wouldn’t have won without him. He stole the ball for a lay-in late in regulation as Orange erased a 5-point deficit in the final 28 seconds of regulation. Wade opened overtime with a 25-foot 3-pointer to put the Panthers ahead for good. Wade had seven assists in the rematch against Southern Alamance on February 9. Through 48 career games, Wade is at 572 points. He also won an OPAC Middle School championship at Gravelly Hill Middle School in Efland. He scored 20 points in 2020 as the Grizzlies defeated Phillips 45-37 in 2020.

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