Georgia Basketball: Reviewing the Bulldogs’ Recruiting Efforts


A look at how recruiting is going for the Georgia basketball program.

Georgia basketball recruiting held serve during the fall signing period: upgrading the roster, filling positions of need, but not quite getting the difference maker the Dawg Nation wanted. Optimism abounds for spring signing and yes, Georgia, there is an uncommitted Jaylen Brown.

More from Georgia Basketball

A year ago Georgia signee Will Jackson was a must get. Jackson plays at Athens Christian School and spent many hours around the nearby Georgia program while growing up. When Jackson committed to UConn, the Dawg Nation howled. The Georgia coaches, however, kept working and when UConn appeared to overstock on guards, the Bulldogs were waiting with open arms.

Mark Fox told, “I thought it was very important (to keep an Athens prospect at home). And even when he had a moment of insanity (in committing to UConn) I just felt like deep down things would work out, and fortunately for us they did. … I think deep down inside the kid knew what we were about and what we could do for him and what we could do together.”

Jackson was forced to battle through a difficult year that included surgery, a complicated rehabilitation, and the deaths of close family and friend.  Dawn of the Dawg sees Jackson as a highly underrated player and expects him to contribute immediately as a scorer.

Coach Hayes was one of the first coaches to start recruiting me a couple summers ago. When I got injured this past season, he didn’t stop recruiting me

Unlike Jackson,  recruiting news on E’Torrion Wilridge, did not surface until recently even though the Dawgs were one of the first schools to recruit him. Also, Wilridge is from Beaumont, TX, a town as far removed from the Bulldogs psyche as Jackson’s hometown is a part. But with the loss of Brandon Morris, Wilridge quickly became a priority also for the Bulldog program.

“[Small forward is] a huge need for us. We needed to get a couple of guys there and still do. But we need some length and athleticism, and a guy that could play both (forward) spots was attractive to us,” coach Fox remarked when Wilridge signed.

As a junior last year, Wilridge averaged 22.3 points, 12 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game as his Central Medical Magnet High School Jaguars earned a 31-5 record while reaching the semifinal round of the Texas Class 4A state tournament.

Wilridge earned first team 4A All-State honors last season by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches.

Wilridge, like Jackson, was the victim of an untimely injury. Before an MCL injury during the Texas state semifinals, Wilridge received offers from high-major programs. However, Wilridge was unable to come back from his injury during the critical July evaluation period and played poorly.

Georgia stuck with Wilridge and the decision by the Georgia staff paid off.

“I committed to Georgia because of Coach [Jonas] Hayes,” Wilridge told UGASports after his commitment. “He was one of the first coaches to start recruiting me a couple summers ago. When I got injured this past season, he didn’t stop recruiting me. He stayed with me throughout. That’s one of the reasons I committed there.”

“I love his length, his athleticism, his ability to score and his ability to play multiple positions,  Fox said. “He is also an outstanding young man who will be a great asset for us.”

Wilridge looks like a steal –  by the time he had healed from injury and was playing well, Georgia had the goods in hand.  Dawn of the Dawg believes Wilridge is an odds on favorite to crack the 2015 – 2016 starting lineup and to do so before Christmas.

The third member of the Georgia signing class is the biggest – actually and figuratively.  As a post recruit, the 6-9, 230 pound Derek Ogbeide spent the past spring and summer playing in the shadow of National 45 ranked  Daniel Giddens of Norcross, GA and National 60 ranked Doral Moore of Locust Grove, GA.  Ogbeide (O B D) is a Nigerian native who moved to metro Atlanta last year from Toronto, Ontario. He is beginning his senior season at Pebblebrook High School in Mableton.

With the Dawgs losing starting post men Nemi Djurisic and Marcus Thornton to graduation after this year, a good big man in the  2014 Georgia signing class was an absolute necessity.

“Obeide will arrive in Athens physically ready to play. ” Dan McDonald of said. “His biggest assets right now are his ability to defend, rebound and block shots. He’s got a relentless motor that all fans will grow to appreciate during his time in Athens.

The Bulldog staff used hard work, persistence, the new blood of Yasir Rosemond and the tireless Jonas Hayes to earn three very good recruits. All fans optimistically spin recruiting results, but there is objective reason to believe the new Dawg Pups are better than their rankings.