Georgia Tech landed its second verbal commitment in the Class of 2016 Saturday night, and in doing so Brian Gregory and his staff managed to keep a talented in-state prospect home.
6-foot-9 power forward Romello White, a Georgia native who attends Wheeler HS in Marietta, announced that he will play his college basketball in Atlanta. White joins small forward Christian Matthews in Georgia Tech’s 2016 recruiting haul to date, and his ability to both score around the basket and rebound will help the Yellow Jackets when he arrives on campus in 2016.
That’s key, given the fact that among the players Georgia Tech will lose at the end of the 2015-16 season are power forwards Nick Jacobs and Charles Mitchell. Among the front court players with eligibility remaining beyond the 2015-16 season are sophomores Abdoulaye Gueye and Ben Lammers, and freshman Sylvester Ogbonda.
Originally a Tennessee commit, White reopened his recruitment in April following the school’s firing of Donnie Tyndall. White also held offers from programs such as Georgia, Iowa State, Missouri and South Carolina. White played with the Stackhouse Elite program this summer, and he averaged 14.1 points and 8.0 rebounds per game at the adidas Uprising Gauntlet Finale in Atlanta in early July.
Georgia Tech’s leading scorer ruled out for Bahamas trip
Georgia Tech began a seven-day trip to the Bahamas earlier this week. But the Yellow Jackets will have their leading scorer and graduate transfer on the sidelines for the entire week.
Georgia Tech Brian Gregory says Marcus Georges-Hunt and Virginia Tech graduate transfer Adam Smith have been ruled out, according to Ken Sugiura of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“If we had pushed it, we would have had (medical clearance) by now, but we made the decision actually in the beginning of the summer that this was the game plan for us,” he told the AJC.
Georges-Hunt, the rising senior wing, averaged a team-high 13.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. However, his junior season ended on a sour note when he suffered a fracture in the fifth metatarsal of his right foot in the regular season finale against North Carolina on March 3. Georges-Hunt is hoping to be ready for workouts later this month.
Adam Smith, who transferred in from Virginia Tech on April 24, will miss the entire trip after re-aggravating a leg injury. Smith averaged 13.4 points per game, shooting 42 percent from the beyond the 3-point line in his final season with the Hokies. He is eligible immediately.
The Yellow Jackets were scheduled to play in games on Saturday and Sunday after winning their first contest, 101-60, on Thursday.
With the early entry process over and with just about every elite recruit having picked a school, we now have a pretty good idea of what college basketball will look like in 2015-16. Over the next three weeks, we’ll be taking an early look at next season.
Today, we’re Looking Forward at some coaches who are on the proverbial hot seat:
Tom Crean, Indiana: Without much in the way of front court depth the Hoosiers won 20 games and reached the NCAA tournament in 2014-15, but even that isn’t enough for a fan base accustomed to seeing high-level basketball. That’s what makes the 2015-16 season such an important one for Crean, $7.5 million buyout (come July 1) or not. Guards Yogi Ferrell and James Blackmon Jr. both decided to return to school, and five-star big man Thomas Bryant will be joining the program as well. The pieces are there for Indiana to make some noise nationally, and Crean needs to take advantage.
Brian Gregory, Georgia Tech: With one above-.500 season in four years in Atlanta (16-15 in 2012-13), the 2015-16 season is an important one for Gregory. The Yellow Jackets went 12-19 last season, and their interior depth took a hit with Demarco Cox and Robert Sampson running out of eligibility. But Charles Mitchell returns and Alabama transfer Nick Jacobs will be eligible, and on the perimeter players such as Marcus Georges-Hunt and Tadric Jackson are back as well. In short, Georgia Tech needs to make some serious progress in the win column and that won’t be easy to do in the ACC.
John Groce, Illinois: The Fighting Illini have missed the NCAA tournament in each of the last two seasons, the first time that’s happened since 1991 and 1992. Rayvonte Rice and Nnanna Egwu may be gone, but junior guards Malcolm Hill, Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate all return to Champaign as will Tracy Abrams (torn ACL in 2014-15). Illinois also adds four freshmen, led by guard Jalen Coleman-Lands, and even with questions to be answered in the front court getting back to the tournament is something that needs to happen.
Barry Hinson, Southern Illinois: At the end of last season SIU lost five players to transfer, with three of those players deciding to leave after their freshman year. Add in two 14-win seasons followed by a 9-22 campaign in 2014-15, and the 2015-16 season becomes a very important one for Hinson. Leading scorer Anthony Beane returns for his senior season, but outside of him there are a lot of personnel questions to be answered in Carbondale. That could make it tough for the Salukis to take a step forward in the Missouri Valley.
Dave Rice, UNLV: Rice and his staff have made significant strides on the recruiting trail during his tenure, but that hasn’t led to great results both within the Mountain West and nationally. Since Rice took over his alma mater UNLV’s finished no higher than third in the Mountain West, and after reaching the NCAA tournament in each of his first two seasons (losing their opener in both) the Runnin’ Rebels missed out on the Big Dance in 2014 and 2015. With one of the nation’s top recruiting classes led by Stephen Zimmerman arriving on campus, UNLV will once again be expected to be a player within the conference and nationally.
Lorenzo Romar, Washington: Romar and his staff have managed to put together a seven-member recruiting class ranked tenth nationally by Rivals.com. And it’s a good thing they did, as the Huskies lost a number of players either to graduation or transfer, with point guard Nigel Williams-Goss ultimately landing at Gonzaga. That leaves rising senior guard Andrew Andrews as the most experienced player for a program that hasn’t reached the NCAA tournament since 2011. Young roster or not, especially in a Pac-12 that will be improved, that drought can’t get to the fifth straight season.
Kevin Willard, Seton Hall: Last season got off to such a positive start for the Pirates, spending three straight weeks in the national polls in the middle of the season. Then, the roof caved in. Injuries and chemistry issues led to the Pirates losing nine of eleven games, going from a team that appeared to be headed to the NCAA tournament to one that didn’t play in any postseason tournament. Add in the midseason departure of Jaren Sina and Sterling Gibbs’ decision to transfer, and Willard’s Pirates have some holes to fill on the perimeter. Willard will need his sophomore class led by Isaiah Whitehead and Angel Delgado to produce in a big way in 2015-16.