UPDATED WITH GEORGIA TECH INFO AT 1:45 P.M. . . .
Jelan Kendrick, the top basketball player in Georgia and one of the 10 best college prospects in America, shocked the recruiting world this past weekend when he called a press conference at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis on Saturday to announce that he had signed a letter-of-intent with the University of Memphis.
Previously, the small forward from Wheeler had said chances that he’d sign during the early period were “slim to none.” He chose the Tigers over Georgia Tech, Georgia, Indiana and West Virginia among many others.
“Yes he did,” Wheeler coach Doug Lipscomb said, confirming Kendrick’s decision. “I don’t know why everybody’s saying this was sporadically done. I’d think if you’re going to go on a [official] visit you have an idea you might end up playing there.”
It is unusual, however, to hold a press conference while still in town on said visit to announce that you’ve signed with the team you’re currently visiting.
But Kendrick, who transferred from Westlake to Wheeler for his senior season, is not your usual player. The 6-foot-6 wing is considered the top basketball prospect in Georgia, the No. 2 small forward in the nation by both Rivals.com and Scout.com and the No. 8 player in America.
What’s also unusual is Kendrick is one of four Top 20 prospects — all of them guards — to sign with the Tigers so far. He joins Will Barton, Chris Crawford and Joe Jackson.
Jelan (pronounced Jay-LON) is supposed to call me back after school this afternoon. In the meantime, he explained his decision to the Memphis Commercial-Appeal at that impromptu presser at the Peabody.
“I’m going to Memphis to help us win a national championship and be the No. 1 recruiting class in America,” Kendrick told the newspaper. “Josh really sold me on the dream of making Memphis one of the top powerhouses in the country and how we could accomplish that. . . . We don’t have time for ego trips or anything like that. We’re all focused on winning.”
“Josh,” by the way, is Josh Pastner, Memphis’ 31-year-old new head coach of Memphis.
The early signing period in college athletics continues through Wednesday of this week.
In other news, Georgia Tech finally received the official signed letter-of-intent from Jason Morris. The 6-foot-4 guard from Augusta by the way of The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn., committed to the Yellow Jackets last week.
“We’re thrilled to get Jason Morris’ letter of intent,” Tech coach Paul Hewitt said in the school’s release. “He’s an excellent student and an outstanding athlete. If I can compare him to some of the guys we’ve had in the past, he’s on the level of Isma’il Muhammad in terms of running and jumping.”
Kennesaw State men’s basketball coach Tony Ingle announced the signing of two players on Monday: Mirza Sabic ofand
Anderson, a 6-foot-7 post player, is averaging 12 points, 13 rebounds this season. The 6-6 Sabic averages 14 points and six rebounds while shooting 45 percent from 3-point range.
“We expect a lot out these two men as soon as they get on campus,” Ingle said.