Georgia Basketball Recruiting Trends Positive


A little over a year ago, the Bulldog Nation squawked over Coach Mark Fox’s recruiting failures. Not so now witih the current state of Georgia basketball recruiting.

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The historical failure of Georgia basketball boils down to a simple fact – the Bulldogs have not successfully recruited high school talent. That the state of Georgia was filled with talent and that the Atlanta metropolis oozed with elite players while Bulldog basketball remained starved for players for over 60 years has been a Bulldog fan’s real life nightmare.

It appears Mark Fox – with veteran recruiter Phil Pearson and young gun Jonas Hayes and Yasir Rosemond all now on staff as assistants – is reversing the historical trend. Beginning with the spring signing coup of Yante Maten a year ago, Georgia is trending up with no downward indicators apparent.

In the fall, Georgia signed three roster upgrades.

Will Jackson (SG, 6’4”, 180, Athens GA, Athens Christian School) held offers from Georgia Tech, Louisville, Georgia and others when he committed to UCONN. A meniscus injury and an up and down rehabilitation saw the one time Rivals four-star recruit’s stock drop. Georgia stuck with Jackson and after the difficult recovery and after some tough personal trials, Jackson re-evaluated and signed with the Bulldogs.

Jackson discussed his change of heart with Dan McDonald of

“Georgia is home for me, and it will be an easier transition for me. I’ve been here for a while and I know what it’s like at UGA with the fans and how the players are and how they play.”

E’Torrion Wilridge’s story, is similar. After receiving offers from Georgia, Auburn, Marquette, Oregon, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M, Wilridge (SF, 6’7” 210, Beaumont, TX, Central high School), injured an MCL in the 2014 semifinals of the Texas state basketball tournament. But Georgia stuck with Wilridge and the Dawgs brought the talented small forward to Athens.

Wilridge spoke to Dan McDonald of UGASports . “I committed to Georgia because of Coach [Jonas] Hayes. 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.”

Both Jackson and Wilridge are long and quick with inside-outside skills. One of the most complete players to ever arrive as a freshman at Georgia, expect Jackson to receive grooming as a point guard while working primarily at the shooting guard spot. Wilridge will have a chance to start at the three before January. Both will be defensive disruptors.

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To go with the pair of guards, Georgia signed post Derek Ogbeide (6’8”, 230 lb Mableton, GA Pebblebrook High). Ogbeide held scholarship offers from Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, Memphis and Houston.

Ogbeide rocketed up the recruiting charts this season, becoming a Rivals four-star recruit at season’s end. With the Dawgs losing Marcus Thornton and Nemi Djurisic, Ogbeide was a must get. The recent recognition by Rivals is a nice cherry on top for the fall signing effort.

This spring, with the roster still short of big men, Coach Fox was the first high major coach to offer Mike Edwards (6’10” 225, Westland, MI, Glenn High). Fox and assistant Coach Jonas Hayes out fought Nebraska, Pitt, Kansas State and SMU to add Edwards to the 2015 class.

“Big guys sometimes develop late and Mike is one of those guys who has continued to work and just gotten better and better each month,” Glenn High head basketball coach Rod Watts told “He’s getting the attention he deserves. He’s hard-working and has a very high ceiling.”

These four 2015 additions have Dawg basketball fans now arguing over how to get playing time for so many good players. This beats the old Georgia past time of trying to figure out who might occasionally fill the necessary minutes “and not get us killed”.

There is still plenty of recruiting drama to come this spring. Tevin Mack (SF 6’7″, 215, Columbia, SC, Dreher High), the coveted hot shooting guard/forward from Columbia SC, is back on the market following Shaka Smart’s resignation at VCU.

Mack has the option of following Smart to Texas, but it’s a whole new recruiting game for Mack as he is one of precious few unsigned ace shooters left in the country. Georgia was a favorite of Mack’s family and Mack always had Georgia near the top of his list. The Mack family is very quiet regarding the latest recruiting battle, but May 1 appears to be the target date for a decision. If Georgia lands Mack, the 2015 recruiting class becomes more than just good.

Georgia is also expected to add a graduate transfer post player. The strongest rumors swirl around Willy Kouassi of Kennesaw State. A rising fifth year player at 6’10 230, the Ivory Coast native would be a boost for the Dawgs. But while Georgia is recruiting Kouassi, there is a bigger fish out there the Dawgs are trying to reel in. We just don’t know who he is. Stay tuned.

While the 2015 recruiting cycle will end with a strong Dawg class and perhaps a dazzling flourish, 2016 is already shaping up to be the best Georgia recruiting class since Hugh Durham put together his version of the Fab Five in 1992.

Committed to Georgia from the 2016 class is the South Georgia Heckle and Jeckle Rivals four-star guard combo of Tyree Crump (6’3” 175Bainbridge, GA Bainbridge High) and Jordan Harris (6’ 4” 165 Donalsonville, Seminole County High)..

Crump is drawing rave reviews already this spring on the club circuit. But those that have seen Harris play will quickly argue that the big and athletic guard is the prize. Crump and Harris played club ball together the last few summers and decided to make themselves a package deal. The Dawgs quickly signed on and the pair gives Georgia a very early national number five rated recruiting class for 2016.

With Crump and Harris committed to the G, Dawg fans are facing a new recruiting world: there’s never enough room.

Mar 19, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Georgia Bulldogs head coach Mark Fox during practice before the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Guard Kamar Baldwin’s performances rated with Crump and Harris last season. There is no game Baldwin (6’1’ 175 Winder, GA Apalachee High) cannot take over. With great athleticism, his high arching jumper is consistent and released at such great height it is very close to unstoppable. He can drive, shoot, pass, defend. His ball handling is excellent. He lives twenty minutes from the Stegeman Coliseum and would likely accept a Georgia offer in seconds.

But this great talent – and great kid – is probably on the outside looking in at Georgia. Still, keep the name in mind. Baldwin is a name that could appear on a Georgia offer sheet if the dominos fell the right way.

If Georgia recruits another guard for 2016, it will be a game changing point guard.

Right now, game changers the Dawgs are pursuing are are Rivals national number 77 Alterique Gilbert (6’0” 160 Lithonia, GA Miller Grove High.) and Kobi Simmons (6’5”175 Alpharetta St. Francis School), the Rivals national number 12 player.

So far, both players express interest in the Dawgs but Georgia will battle the likes of Kentucky and North Carolina (both have offered) for Simmons’ signature. Gilbert already sports a dozen high major offers from SEC, ACC, and Big 10 programs.

Georgia will also seek more post players in 2016, and the most hotly pursued prospects at this time appear to be Rivals three-star forward Robert Baker (6’8” 180 Marietta Walker School) and Rivals four-star center James Banks 6’10” 230 Stockbridge Mt. Vernon Christian.) Both Baker and Banks are on the rise and competition for their signature will be fierce.

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