Scholarship release? Georgia Tech’s No. 1 basketball recruit says ACC school is still his top choice after Hewitt firing (UPDATED)

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Georgia Tech’s top basketball recruit said the Yellow Jackets are still his No. 1 choice after Saturday’s firing of coach Paul Hewitt.

Milton High power forward Julian Royal signed with Tech over rival Georgia last November. Royal said he will wait at a week and maybe longer before considering other options, including a scholarship release.

“I still want to go to Georgia Tech; it’s a great school and it has always been the place I’ve wanted to go to since I was a little kid,” Royal said.

“However, you never know about the new coach and if you’re the type of player that will fit into his system. I hope it works out, but I guess I will have to wait to see how everything unfolds.”

Royal’s father was contacted by both Hewitt and Tech athletics director Dan Radakovich in separate phone calls on early Saturday morning.

“Paul was apologetic that we have to go through this situation because he feels like we’re really good people, we strongly supported him, and we wanted him to be our son’s coach,” said Charles Royal.

Milton High's Julian Royal signed with Georgia Tech over UGA last November. After Saturday's firing of Paul Hewitt, Tech is still No. 1 with Royal but a final decision won't be made until a meeting with the new coach (AJC photo)

Milton High's Julian Royal signed with Georgia Tech over UGA last November. After Saturday's firing of Paul Hewitt, Tech is still No. 1 with Royal but a final decision won't be made until a meeting with the new coach (AJC photo)

“During the recruiting process, I asked Paul about his future with the program and I was satisfied with his answers at the time. I’m saddened by Saturday’s news. But we have to move forward and that’s pretty much it.”

Radakovich called to explain the firing and to request some short-term patience with Tech’s coaching search before Royal begins to look elsewhere.

“Dan said he wishes things could be different, but that he had to do what he felt was in the best interests of the program,” the elder Royal said.

“Dan said they were going to aggressively look for a new coach. As it was put to me, the protocol is to wait 10-12 days while they are looking for a suitable replacement before considering other possibilities. If that’s what they need, we feel like we owe them that much, so we’ll do that.”

Last week, the 6-foot-8 Royal said he would re-open his recruiting if Hewitt was not retained. On Saturday, he confirmed that remains an option.

“Right now, we’re going to see how things go over the next week,” his father said. “[Tech] is a good school. That will never change. Would I like for my son to go there? Sure I would. But it would have to be under the right situation.

“Let’s be clear: A lot of basketball coaches think Julian is a great fit for their system, but not everybody does. We’d be crazy to force Julian on a new coach if he’s not a good fit. I know that’s a worst-case scenario but that’s a reality in college basketball.

“We want to have an open and honest conversation with the new coach about how he feels about Julian with what he’s trying to do with the overall program.”

When asked if switching to co-finalist Georgia would be a future possibility, the younger Royal replied, “I haven’t thought about anything past Georgia Tech at this point. I’m waiting to see how it goes there.”

RELATED: Can you believe that No. 1 Milton was upset by Norcross? What a shocker. Talk about it by clicking here.

UGA football recruit Jay Rome is considering playing college basketball, too (click here)

Talk live in the basketball forum (click here)

57 comments Add your comment

Dawg Nation

March 12th, 2011
5:53 pm

At least Tech still has one of our favorite coaches left!

Keep Paul Johnson FOREVER!!!

-Dawg Nation


March 12th, 2011
5:56 pm

I swear to god, I saw some Tech fans talking on another blog about getting Calipari from Kentucky to come to Tech.

I spit out my drink and laughed for about 25 mins. By the time I was able to type again, the topic had been moved way on.

Thanks for the great laugh today Techies!!!

Go watch these low, low calibar conference championship games today and tomorrow and scout out your future coach.

Calipari?!?!?!?!?! BWAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Innocent Bystander

March 12th, 2011
6:06 pm

What do Tech fans and uga fans have in common?

They’re both obsessed with Tech athletics.

Dandy Don Dan`Fodio

March 12th, 2011
7:14 pm

Innocent Bystander

Before me there was “ 3 “ people on this here blog.
I’m not a grad of either one, UGA nor Tech.
Don’t look like anybody obsessin’ to me?

Coach Blue

March 12th, 2011
7:35 pm

I can’t believe that Radakovich convinced Royal to wait 12 days before requesting a release. That’s an eternity in the middle of March with the late signing period creeping up in April.

Royal should’ve asked for and been granted a release by Radakovich during today’s phone call — with the understanding that he would hear out GT’s new coach.

Another day as a recruit of a team with NO COACH … .. is a day wasted.

D A DoubleU G

March 12th, 2011
7:40 pm

“Innocent Bystander” is another one of the countless Techies who doesn’t understand that UGA hates Tech just as much as Tech hates UGA.

Tech parades their ugly a– car around the field before every football game with a “to hell with Georgia” flag displayed from it’s front bumper, and it’s considered “glorious” to Tech. But if a UGA fan comes on a public blog and displays hatred for the team who prides themselves on hating us, it is considered “obsession” and/or “classless”

to HELL with georgia tech.


D A DoubleU G

March 12th, 2011
7:40 pm

oh wait, 73-66 was last season.

73-72 is more like it. A loss is a loss is a loss.

Jacket Backer

March 12th, 2011
7:54 pm


March 12th, 2011
7:55 pm

Why didn’t you other guys vote?


March 12th, 2011
7:57 pm

Are the UGA people on this blog aware we just fired a coach who went to the NCAA more times than UGA did while he was here?

4 ncs are better than 1

March 12th, 2011
8:00 pm

Hey Tech = pompous, if you want a really good laugh look at your own BB coach. Loved that timeout. Just wait until Feltons 2 first rounders leave. And don’t forget about that top-recruiting, no winning, jailbird, 6-7 joke of a football program.

The Truth

March 12th, 2011
8:20 pm

I still say he should stay at Tech. Maybe the new coach can teach the kid to be more agressive going to the hole and keep the ball over his head. After his super sub par performance in the final 4, I don’t know if anyone is gonna come knocking down the door now. I don’t think even UGA would re-open it’s recruit offer, especially after being spurned the first time and his outrageous play in the tournament. His low post presence was left at home in the tourney, when the needed him most. 3 times he put the ball on the floor, while being the wingman in the corner and lost it 3 times while trying to break a press. Going to the hole on a few ocasions he’s trying to shoot from the hip or scoop underneath, that is not the play of a 6′8″ power forward. Got outrebounded and outplayed. Norcross had a slew of offensive boards last night. Actually I think Milton got it spark when he was on the bench and went up by 15 at one point. Of course, can’t blame everything on the kid, I think Coach Boyd mad a huge mistake when he slowed down the pace. Norcross just chipped away, and with no post presence, Milton was doomed.

D A DoubleU G

March 12th, 2011
8:22 pm

I am just curious,

For all the Techies who think overall historic National Titles are a direct reflection as to how good you are TODAY, and point out Tech has 4 and UGA 1, why do you not count the shared National Championship UGA got in 1942??

UGA flies a flag in Sanford Stadium for the 1942 season. I believe the final AP poll may read Ohio State, but others had UGA or a share of Ohio State and UGA.

Sounds VERY similar to the 1990 NC that Tech loves to claim. So why not at least give UGA credit for the 1942??

It doesn’t bother me either way, I actually enjoy listening to Techies spew that kind of talk. But if somebody can come up with an explanation I would be interested to hear it.,_Old-Fashioned_Hate



March 12th, 2011
8:50 pm

Mark Fox needs to call then go see Julian Royal as soon as the NCAA allows him to!

How many points is a 3 point shot worth?

March 12th, 2011
9:21 pm

I guess all of the mutts are one here running their little mouths so that they can forget about that monumental choke job yesterday, huh?


March 12th, 2011
9:22 pm

Dawg Nation – I couldn’t agree with you more – Keep PJ!

D A DoubleU G

March 12th, 2011
9:26 pm

I’d say the “choke job” in a single game is totally eclipsed by the “choke job” of a season on North Ave.

And trust me, not a soul in Dawg Nation is crucially devastated about our basketball team. I along with every other Dawg fan/student/alumni will gladly admit that we get excited about our hoop-dawgs when they have a chance to do something exciting, but 99% of the time when they don’t, we have no second thoughts on them.

Hopefully our team name gets called tomorrow night, if not……. okay.

D A DoubleU G

March 12th, 2011
9:30 pm

Still no explanation on UGA’s 1942 Football NC being exempt from all Tech’s arguments??

I gladly count Colorado as THE 1990 NC, so I guess the feeling is mutual.

Jacket Man

March 12th, 2011
9:44 pm

Thanks to Paul for his efforts over the past 11 years and upholding the honor and integrity of all that makes GA Tech great; I wish him the very best. No one should doubt that Dan has a great net out already and is looking for someone who will rejuvenate the program and the fanbase in short order, while maintaining the legacy of doing things the GA Tech way.

Paul in RDU

March 12th, 2011
10:10 pm

Nice to see that CPH called Julian Royal. I expect that if Royal wants his release, GT will give it. Due to the conference rules, he won’t be able to play at a different ACC school next year but he would be able to play at UGA if given his release.

D A DoubleU G admits being a fairweather fan and that UGA sucks in basketball

March 12th, 2011
10:16 pm

D A DoubleU G

March 12th, 2011
9:26 pm
I’d say the “choke job” in a single game is totally eclipsed by the “choke job” of a season on North Ave.

And trust me, not a soul in Dawg Nation is crucially devastated about our basketball team. I along with every other Dawg fan/student/alumni will gladly admit that we get excited about our hoop-dawgs when they have a chance to do something exciting, but 99% of the time when they don’t, we have no second thoughts on them.
Pretty sad when you think that 99% of the time UGA is going to lose in b’ball.

Dean Griffin

March 12th, 2011
10:22 pm

Not a single Tech supposed national championship is legitimate. But, we know people will not check whether some oil company’s designation of a national champion a thousand years ago means anything.


March 12th, 2011
10:33 pm

Dawg Nation,

Be careful what you ask for, you might just get it.

To hell with Muttland!!!

D A DoubleU G

March 12th, 2011
10:37 pm

Yes. I admit to being a fairweather basketball fan.

I simply do not relate to basketball, and fail to grasp any nostalgic meaning of the game.

I watch when it’s worth watching, and if we lose I feel very little if any emotion. And if you check the UGA basketball records, yes, we have a loooooong history of failing to be great.

Sorry I am willing to admit and point these things out. Guess I am scum??


March 12th, 2011
11:13 pm

Tech did the only thing that could be done under the circumstance. Hewitt certainly is a classy guy, but his coaching is suspect. UGA has an exciting BB team under Coach Fox, and the future holds much promise. Maybe Tech will feel the same in a couple of years.
As for Julian Royal, he certainly should go to Tech. If it has always been his dream, he should follow that. Any coach worthwhile, and I am sure Tech will choose one, can take an athlete and make room for him. The downside for him is that there probably will not be any championships during the majority of his time at Tech.
No Tech envy here, for I am one that feels that UGA has as much to offer as Tech in all areas, and more in some. Both schools deserve competitive teams to compliment a fine education.


March 12th, 2011
11:16 pm

Its also customary not to let a player go to a team on your schedule if they request a release in football. Is that true in basketball?

Paul in RDU

March 13th, 2011
12:16 am

I would expect GT to give Royal a release to go to UGA if requested. Daniel Miller was originally a UGA recruit who asked for, and received, his release after Fox’ predecessor was fired. Even if GT were to give Royal a release, he would not be able to be on scholarship at another ACC school in 2011-12 due to conference rules. Marcus Thornton signed with Clemson and received his release when Purnell quit. If Thornton had gone to GT this year, rather than UGA, he would have had to pay his own way.


March 13th, 2011
12:50 am

And trust me, not a soul in Dawg Nation is crucially devastated about our basketball team. I along with every other Dawg fan/student/alumni will gladly admit that we get excited about our hoop-dawgs when they have a chance to do something exciting, but 99% of the time when they don’t, we have no second thoughts on them.

Not that we all didn’t know this was true but this is just sad.

GT Alum

March 13th, 2011
1:43 am

D A DoubleU G -

No, but it is interesting that there seem to be more posts from UGA (sic) fans than Tech fans on the Tech blog. And before you trot out that crap about how that’s because Tech fans are so bad, it’s actually because Tech fans have figured out there’s lots of other blogs where they can have intelligent discussions about Tech athletics without some Dawg posting the score from the last football game 20 times. Well, and the fact that intelligent discussions rarely occur on the AJC’s sports blogs.

We also find it interesting because most Dawg fans say that Tech is an afterthought to them and that Tech is not significant enough for them to hate. At least you can acknowledge the rivalry.


March 13th, 2011
1:54 am

Most teams apply a conditional release…you can leave if you don’t go to such and such school. Doubt Tech would release him to an ACC school or to UGA. Indeed if push came to shove he could have to go to a non-D1 school or lose a year of eligibility.


March 13th, 2011
7:30 am

Royal will come to GT…better academics, more integrity, better basketball tradition….

ken anderson

March 13th, 2011
8:45 am

Royal will be at Tech next year period!


March 13th, 2011
9:00 am

.. I don’t know… Double A… I took the Bama loss pretty bad and came out of the Dome knowing that we might have given KY all they could handle with the “pressure” finally off… As a student I lived and died in Stegman with Stick man (Lavon Mercer), Dorsey and others finally putting BBall on the map for us. We finally have a Coach in Fox who I believe looks at this job as a Destination job. The one thing about Tech, they are in Atlanta and recruits love the Big City. If they get the right coach…BBall will matter again at both schools and the rivalry will be healthy and Good… THWGT!!!

We ARE a basketball school in a basketball conference .......... aren't we? $#@%$#

March 13th, 2011
9:02 am

GT will find out how well respected they re in the world of college basketball. Their new coach at best, will be from only from a mid major school.

Candidates will come from a Furman or East TN State or Millsaps College or Rollins College of maybe even mighty Chattanooga U. How about Elon College?? Hmmmm?


March 13th, 2011
9:07 am

Seen Royal play and he is very passive…I dont care if he leaves anyway!

Jacket Man

March 13th, 2011
10:29 am

Congratulations also need to go out to recent GA Tech football signee, Broderick Snoddy, who just ran a 10.45 100-meter dash (a new meet record), which is also the second-fastest 100-meter time in the nation, turned in by a high school runner (across all classifications), this entire year.

NOT a Hewitt Fan

March 13th, 2011
12:25 pm

Grats to the kid for wanting to come here after Pewey was let go…Stick with the article bloggers. some kids get it….apparantly this one does. What we will have going forward tho is a Home court advantage again…..People will show back up. Grats to Royal. lets prove all the haters wrong.

David Bowie - Tech fan

March 13th, 2011
1:14 pm

For all the visiting Georgia fans today, I dedicate my hit and sing:
“Cho cho cho choking.
Turn and face the choking”
Well got to go take care of my groupies.
Been real.


March 13th, 2011
2:17 pm

Does it make a difference if Royal is released. He had a soft tournament, not dominant in the post and got outrebounded.

Old School

March 13th, 2011
5:38 pm

If you watched Julian Royal in the State Tournament he was a non-factor. Will never be a power forward in the ACC. Another very over rated HS prospect. Does he have potential? Yes, however he is the same type of player as Glenn Rice Jr.;sporadic offense, little defense and weak in the paint. He will be a role player at the next level at best. Seems to be a good kid but will need a lot of work on his game and in the weight room


March 13th, 2011
5:59 pm

The coach is already known but is with a team going to the dance and mostly will not be in the final four. That is why it was said he will be on board before then. If the team does make the final four then it will be announced a day or two later.


March 13th, 2011
8:06 pm

Gotta love it that gt is the most talked about college in the state of ga….Don’t get upset puppies

ncaa nerds

March 13th, 2011
8:23 pm

we beat you twice in a row at what you call your best sport LOSERS btw even if royal makes the mistake and stays with tech the DAWGS still have the best recruit in the state


March 13th, 2011
8:25 pm

Hey techies:

UGA did not lose the game because of a questionable “timeout,” it lost because they once again, cannot hit foul shots when they need them. Personally, I liked Coach Hewitt and thought he was a stand-up guy. He also ran a clean program which is more than I can say for Calipari. That guy is a cheat!

ncaa nerds

March 13th, 2011
8:25 pm

btw the DAWGS are going dancin ha ha for all the tech players find a nice soft spot on the couch and wait for your next coach while we enjoy the post season WE RUN THIS STATE

Rodney Dangerfield

March 13th, 2011
9:54 pm

Hey nerd,

I can careless if UGA is going to the big dance. I’m concerned about my own team. A coach search is much more exciting than a 10 seed anyway.


March 14th, 2011
7:52 am

Some of you GT fans are pathetic. Yes, we choked against Bama — Fox has not figured out how to finish a game when he has a lead. OTOH, how many times has UGA basketball teams beat you when you had Superior talent in BBall?


March 14th, 2011
8:54 am

Who cares if he comes to Tech!!! Did you see him play Friday night, the kid will get eaten alive in the ACC. He was a non factor in a high school game. Looks very soft.


March 14th, 2011
9:03 am

To all Techies, enjoy the NCAA tournament watching a real BB team! I don’t mean just UGA, just all 68 teams in the tournament!!! Tech is and will always be 2nd rate in Georgia!!! WE RUN THIS STATE!!!


March 14th, 2011
10:12 am

The Calapari to Tech isn’t as much of a stretch as you may think. After he gets UK put on probation (as history says he will) then he will need to go somewhere right?