Georgia Tech’s top basketball recruit will ask for a scholarship release and consider other schools if Paul Hewitt is not coaching the team next season.
Milton High’s Julian Royal signed with Tech over Georgia last November. The 6-foot-8 power forward cited his close relationship with Hewitt as a deciding factor. Royal was the coach’s No. 1 target for Tech’s 2011 recruiting class.
Hewitt’s future at Tech is under speculation with his team dwindling near the bottom of the ACC standings.
“If something were to happen, it would only make sense to re-open recruiting,” said the recruit’s father, Charles Royal.
“I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes at Georgia Tech. Personally, I think they’ve got the right man for the job with Hewitt. I don’t think they are going to change coaches and I don’t think they should.
“However, you never know in the coaching business. We get asked about [Hewitt's situation] every day. If Paul Hewitt was no longer there, it would only make sense to open up our options again.”
The young Royal is aware of the rumblings at Tech, but said he is trying to maintain focus on his senior season of high school. Milton (27-2) is the defending Class AAAAA state champion and plays Mill Creek in Saturday’s playoff quarterfinals at West Georgia.
“It’s not a huge distraction, but people do ask what I would do if Hewitt isn’t there,” Royal said. “I tell them I would definitely like to play under Coach Hewitt. I do believe he will be there next year. I just have a good feeling about it.
“Some people say they want him gone, while others love him. If he were to leave, I would re-assess the situation. However, until Georgia Tech actually does anything, I’m not really worried about it.”
Royal father explained the reasons behind a possible exit strategy: “We know what usually happens when a new coach takes over a team. He wants players that fit into his system. If Paul Hewitt was no longer the coach, I would hate to think the next guy would be stuck with my kid. That would be a crazy thing to do.
“I’m sure we’d listen to the new [Tech] coach to hear what he would have to say, but we’d still want to open everything back up.”
“Again, this is not something I want to go through. It’s not something honestly that I think we’re going to have to go through. But you never know in the coaching business. Yes, if something were to happen, we would open the doors again, without a doubt.”
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