Now that the basketball coach of one of Atlanta’s top AAU or summer travel teams has been hired by UCLA, will his top players follow him to California?
Two of the Atlanta Celtics top players, power forward Shaq Goodwin of Southwest DeKalb High School and shooting guard Jordan Adams of Oak Hill (Va.) prep school, both hold early basketball scholarships offers from UCLA.
The 6-foot-8, 235-pound Goodwin is considered the state’s No. 1 college basketball prospect for 2012. Goodwin said his leaders are “Georgia, Memphis, UCLA, Florida and Alabama.”
Goodwin claims no favorite, but acknowledges that UCLA has a better chance after hiring the man who coached him in AAU for the past three years.
“It will help a little bit because I will know somebody when I go out there sometime this summer,” Goodwin said.
Meanwhile, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound Adams toured UCLA last week, but claims McCray’s presence won’t affect his college decision. “He’s a great person, but it won’t make a difference with where I go,” said Adams, who previously played at Central Gwinnett High School.
Adams said he will make at least one other recruiting trip this summer, visiting Memphis. He lists his top offers as “Georgia, Georgetown, UCLA, Memphis, Miami and Tennessee.”
What will be the recruiting impact of McCray’s move to UCLA with Georgia prospects? The state has one of its deepest classes in years for 2012, with 14 ranked in the the Rivals Top 150. At least 23 rising seniors across Georgia hold scholarship offers from high-major schools, compared with about a dozen from this past season. We discussed the topic with Dan McDonald, who covers basketball recruiting for the Georgia and Georgia Tech websites at Rivals.com.
1. What do you think about UCLA’s decision to hire an AAU coach in general? I think it’s a great hire for UCLA. A lot of people see this hire as strictly for a recruiting advantage in Atlanta but Korey is a very good young coach. He has some experience in college coaching at FSU and Mercer and what most people don’t know is that he’s also been training some of the top NBA players like Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, and a few others for the last several years. If UCLA didn’t hire him, I have no doubt somebody else would have eventually hired him.
2. How do you think hiring an Atlanta AAU coach will affect UCLA’s recruiting efforts in the Atlanta area? Having Korey on the staff will obviously get UCLA in the door for many of the top kids around Atlanta because he’s very well-respected as a person and coach, but I still think it’s going to be hard for them to pull kids all the way across the country. It’s just really hard to get kids to go over 2,000 miles away from home, but I do think Korey will get some kids from Atlanta to go play for him. In the 2012 class alone, Jordan Adams and Shaq Goodwin both have UCLA in their top 5 and Tony Parker might give UCLA some consideration as well. [Note: Parker, who is from Miller Grove High School and holds offers from Duke and North Carolina, plays part-time with the Atlanta Celtics]
3. What do you think Korey McCray specifically will bring to the table as a recruiter? As a recruiter, he’s a younger guy that high school kids can relate to. Nobody, even from rival AAU programs, ever has anything negative to say about him, which speaks volumes about him as a person. He’s got contacts all over the NBA so kids will see him as somebody that can help them eventually achieve their dream of playing in the league.
4. Is AAU more important than a high school coach for a recruiting a top prospect? If so why? It really just depends on the kid. Some kids are really close with their AAU coach and prefer for them to handle their recruitment. Some kids are closer with their high school coach and want them to be a big part of the process. You also sometimes have parents that don’t want anybody else but their immediate family to be a major influence. AAU coaches are always going to be involved in a kid’s recruitment just because that’s where most kids get seen by college coaches and that’s who the college coaches usually contact first to get in with a kid. After that, it’s really just up to the kid and his family.
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog Got a recruiting item? firstname.lastname@example.org
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