Georgia Tech’s No. 1 basketball recruit has agreed to meet with the soon-to-be-named coach of the Yellow Jackets before giving any further consideration to requesting a scholarship release.
Give all the credit for recruiting to Tech athletics director Dan Radakovich, who has maintained an open line of communications with Milton High’s Julian Royal. The 6-foot-8 forward signed with Tech over UGA last November after an intense recruiting battle between the two archrivals.
“We’re just kind of waiting; we’re on hold,” said Royal’s father, Charles Royal. “I have to admit that Dan Radakovich has been good about calling us regularly to say things are progressing. He hasn’t shared who the frontrunner is.
“We did talk about the possibility of getting a release. But [Radakovich] said the policy of the school is not to do that until a new guy is chosen and we get to sit down and talk. It’s a little more ‘hardball’ than I would like, but I understand it, too. We anxiously want to sit down with the new coach, first and foremost.
“For right now, we’re better off with waiting. At the end of the day, my son really wants to attend Georgia Tech.”
When Georgia Tech fired Paul Hewitt on March 12, Radakovich called Royal within a few hours to explain the decision and ask for 10-12 days of patience before discussing a possible release. That deadline has passed but Royal’s family is content with waiting due to Radakovich’s constant communication.
“Julian is very high on Georgia Tech,” the elder Royal said. “It’s just a matter of if the new coach is high on Julian with fitting into his system or style or play. There’s no doubt my son wants to go to Georgia Tech. In fact, he doesn’t even want to think about having to go through the recruiting process of going somewhere else, unless some coach sits down in front of him and says ‘We’re not sure you will fit in with what we do.’ Other than that, he still wants to go to the school. If it’s the only thing that’s clear out of this situation, it’s that.”
My opinion? Despite Royal’s close friendship with Hewitt, it would be surprising to see Royal not stick with Tech, no matter who the new coach is. Playing close to home while competing in one of the nation’s top basketball conferences were two main reasons why Royal’s finalists were Tech and UGA, among 30+ scholarship offers. From the perspective of Tech’s new coach, look for him to make a strong recruiting pitch to Royal, regardless of what type of system he brings with him to the ACC school. It wouldn’t look good for any new coach to lose one of the hometown heroes who obviously wants to play for Tech. Not a good way to start the new job.
Note: This story is in the process of being updated after Georgia Tech’s selection of a new coach on Monday.