Georgia basketball, Tevin Mack and the business of college basketball


Georgia basketball fans rode the recruiting yo-yo this week. On the way down came news that 2015 recruit Malik Beasley (SG, 6’4″, 200, Alpharetta, St. Francis School) spurned the home state Bulldogs and promised his talents to FSU.

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Days later, 2016 Rivals four star and national top 100 instate guards Tyree Crump (SG, 6’3″, 175, Bainbridge, GA, Bainbridge High) and Jordan Harris (SG, 6’4″, 175, Donalsonville, GA, Seminole County High) committed to the Bulldogs and the Dawg Nation is riding high.

Can Mark Fox attract top in-state talent or can he not?

What should a Bulldog believe?

Basketball is a business for Division 1 basketball prospects. High school and travel club decisions are crucial. Recruiting is heavy for the AAU circuit and the conversation between and among parents and trusted advisers is focused and intense.

Basketball is business. “The League” and its immense riches call, and to be of the chosen is the basketball business of the elite players.

Elite talent will not attend a college to sit, not even for a year.

With Will Jackson (SG, 6-4, 175, Athens, Athens Christian School) firmly committed to Georgia for 2015 and with Charles Mann, Kenny Gaines, Juwan Parker and J. J.Frazier projected in the 2016 backcourt, it was fantasy to believe Georgia could sign all four elite wing recruits on the Bulldog recruiting board: Beasley, Jackson, Tevin Mack (SF 6’7″, 215, Columbia, SC, Dreher High) and Jaylen Brown (SF, 6’7”, 215, Marietta, Wheeler High).

The backcourt is simply too crowded. But with Mann and Gaines departing the Bulldog program after the 2016 season, Crump and Harris seized the opportunity to play together and to play early in 2017.

“I want to play somewhere that gets TV games and exposure and the best competition.” – Tevin Mack

With Beasley off the table, Jackson nearly in the house, and two four star guard talents committed to play in 2017, what are Georgia’s chances for the remaining wing prospects, Tevin Mack and Jaylen Brown?

Jaylen Brown is a dead lock cinch one and done. Dawn of the Dawg thinks he’s the best player in the country. He is the rare exception; there is no concern for playing time. The question is simply can Mark Fox and his posse, assistant coaches Yasir Rosemond and Jonas Hayes, out recruit Kentucky and the other blue bloods for his commitment. In one word, yes. Brown may wait until spring to choose his college and Dawn of the Dawgs will wait to discuss his recruiting.

Tevin Mack has always appeared to be the most likely of the Beasley-Jackson-Mack-Brown quartet to sign with Georgia. Mark Fox coached Tevin Mack’s brother at Kansas. If the family they didn’t like Mark Fox, Georgia would have been eliminated long ago.

Clear themes have emerged in Mack’s comments. Mack told Dan McDonald of, “I want to go somewhere I can play early and make an impact. I want to earn my spot. I want to play somewhere that gets TV games and exposure and the best competition. The most important thing is that I want to make sure the coach recruiting me is going to be there all four years.

Stability, playing time, competition, TV exposure, winning. But the greatest of these is stability.

Georgia promises a very stable program. Coach Fox is between a long-term contract on one end and a record not likely to attract suitors on the other.

Georgia promises playing time. Georgia has no other shooting forward that compares to Mack. In fact, Georgia as no one on campus that shoots like Mack. Mack can start and earn big minutes.

Does Mack believe Georgia is a winning program and that the SEC will provide him the competition he craves?

Those are two mighty ifs.

Coach Fox can point to last year’s success and this year’s (likely) success. With the commitments of Crump and Harris added to the projected 2017 roster, the talent Mack can find surrounding him at Georgia is very good and the case for a winning program can be made. But even if other schools can claim more on court success, Mack’s greatest concern is having the same coaches every year (and coaches he and his family trust) and Georgia will compete for Mack’s signature into the final hour and probably receive it.

Mack has trimmed his list to five schools that will receive an in home visit opportunity. VCU, Clemson and South Carolina all visited Tuesday.

With South Carolina making a very late push, Gamecock Coach Frank Martin’s visit could not have been bigger. Georgia, Clemson and VCU have explained to Mack where he fits on the roster and how he will be used. South Carolina had not yet taken that opportunity.

South Carolina’s lack of early interest in Mack is mystifying. Coach Frank Martin planned to bring his entire staff to the in-home visit as part of his effort to overcome his recruiting transgression: failure to show the love. Mack has also scheduled official visits to Georgia on September 20th, VCU on September 27th, Clemson on October 4th. South Carolina is expected to get an official visit from Mack as well.

Dan McDonald reports Mack may also take an in home visit from Oklahoma State.

And still lurking is Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons may also receive an in-home and official visit.

To make things even more interesting, Mack also tossed this nugget at Dan McDonald. “I’ve been getting calls from Georgetown and Connecticut too and they said they want to come watch me work out.”

Mack was in Athens last weekend for an unofficial visit and watched the Georgia – Clemson game.

This weekend Mack is attending the Georgia – South Carolina football game.

Is Mack becoming a Georgia football fan?

Or maybe he wants to compare Clemson and South Carolina football?

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