The Cinderella story of this year’s March Madness beat out much bigger schools again this weekend — this time for one of Georgia’s top 2012 college basketball prospects.
Lovejoy High School’s Justin Tuoyo said he committed to VCU over Virginia Tech and Memphis, among others.
How did Virginia Commonwealth do it? A lot of it had to do with the star power of the team’s coach, Shaka Smart.
“We had a great relationship once we started talking,” Tuoyo told the AJC. “My mom liked him. We have a good relationship with the entire coaching staff. They are really good and they really wanted me. They recruited me harder than anybody, so that’s why I picked them over the other schools.”
The 6-foot-9, 205-pound Tuoyo said he was offered by ex-Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt, but didn’t know exactly where he stood with new coach Brian Gregory. “I haven’t talked to Georgia Tech in a few weeks,” Tuoyo said. “They came to my school two days in a row a few weeks ago. They just said they ‘were recruiting me.’ I didn’t know for sure if I still had an offer.”
Would that have made a difference? “No, sir. VCU is my school.”
What about UGA? “They stopped recruiting me back in March when they got some big men, so Georgia wasn’t on my list anymore.”
Back to the celebrity coach. Smart recently signed an 8-year contract extension, but there’s still speculation that bigger schools will try to lure him away again in the near future. “[Smart] told me he’s not going anywhere, he loves it there … so I doubt he leaves, said Tuoyo, who averaged 14 points and 7 blocks as a junior at Lovejoy.
Two of the Atlanta area’s top 2012 college basketball prospects, Union Grove point guard Charles Mann and North Clayton shooting guard Marcus Hunt, made unofficial visits with UGA coach Mark Fox on Sunday. Both were told that if they signed with UGA, they could compete immediately for playing time as a freshman. “Coach Fox said they won’t have too many shooters by that time,” Hunt said. “He wants me to be one of the shooters, and said that [Kentavious Caldwell-Pope] could play the wing. It would be good situation.”
Former Pebblebook High School standout Damien Wilson, who now plays at Virginia’s Oak Hill prep school, committed to Memphis over the weekend via Twitter.
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