Georgia Tech edged out archival Georgia for one of the state’s top basketball prospects on Thursday.
Milton High’s Julian Royal committed to the Yellow Jackets over the Bulldogs in front about 150 students and supporters at the school gym.
“It was so close,” Royal said. “If I could go to both schools, I would. It’s just that I woke up [Thursday] morning with the feeling that I needed to go to Georgia Tech. That’s where my heart led me to go.”
The 6-foot-9 power forward said he will sign with Georgia Tech on Nov. 10. He showed up for the ceremony in a blue suit, and then whipped out a Yellow Jackets baseball cap to put on his head.
“I picked Georgia Tech because of the feeling of being in Atlanta,” Royal said. “I’ve been at basketball camps for years at Georgia Tech, so there’s a comfort zone there for me.”
It was a big win for the Yellow Jackets, where Royal is expected to compete for immediate playing time. Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt made it repeatedly known to Royal that he was the No. 1 priority of this year’s recruiting class.
“They are getting a post player who has a tremendous amount of skill and versatility,” Milton coach David Boyd said. “He is someone who can play well in the post area and step out there and consistently shoot 3-pointers.”
Last year as a junior, Royal averaged 17 points and 8 rebounds while leading Milton to the state championship in Georgia’s largest classification. He made two clutch foul shots with no time on the clock in a 52-51 win over Norcross in the Class AAAAA quarterfinals.
Royal had more than 30 early scholarship offers and narrowed down to Georgia, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest in recent months. He eliminated Wake Forest last week, making the two in-state rivals his finalists.
With his senior season left to play, Royal is Milton’s all-time leading career scorer with 1,602 points. He is one of six Milton players who has been offered a major-college scholarship. Point guard Shannon Scott has committed to Ohio State, while shooting guard Dai-Jon Parker is considering multiple offers, including Georgia.