Archive for April, 2012

14-year-old middle schooler earns two D1 scholarship offers on Monday

You don’t see this every day.

Two major-college basketball programs offered basketball scholarships on Monday to a middle schooler who is only 14 years old, is an eighth grader, and has yet to play in a high school game.

The young phenom is Chris Lewis, a 6-foot-7, 190-pound forward who has a mighty athletic pedigree: His father is former UGA football star Mo Lewis, who was an NFL Pro Bowl linebacker and played 13 seasons for the New York Jets.

After watching the young Lewis dominate in an AAU tournament over the weekend, both New Mexico (coached by former Georgia Tech guard Craig Neal) and Memphis offered extra early scholarships on Monday. Lewis plays for the Georgia Stars under-15 AAU team.

If you were a college coach, would you offer an 8th grader?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Maybe, depends on how good he is

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“Craig Neal was first, and then the next thing I know I’m hearing from Josh Pastner at Memphis,” Milton High School coach David Boyd told …

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A spirited conversation with UGA’s Mark Fox about transfer controversy

I’ve had a few recruiting discussions with UGA basketball coach Mark Fox over the last couple of years. But none was as spirited as this week’s talk.

UGA made gigantic gains over the last few months but it wasn't enough (AJC)

UGA's Mark Fox: "Coaches can’t move around freely. Coaches are bound by buyout agreements …" (AJC)

The topic was restrictions on transfer players, which has suddenly transformed into a hotly-debated topic in college athletics.

For the record, Fox is what transfer players consider “one of the good guys.” He has an “open release” policy, allowing his players to go anywhere they want, even an SEC foe or archrival Georgia Tech.

That’s where we will pick up the conversation.

  • So why would you let one of your players freely transfer to another SEC school? What if he comes back and helps beat you? “I think as coaches, as long as there hasn’t been tampering, I don’t see why you should preclude a kid on going somewhere where they can pursue their lifelong goals. I don’t think, in those situations, that there’s any reason to try to steer …

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Georgia Tech coach has restriction against transfers to UGA but …

Georgia Tech basketball coach Brian Gregory has a policy that restricts his players from transferring to another ACC school and one out-of-conference opponent … archrival UGA.

However, Gregory also told the AJC that if one of his players really wanted to transfer any school, including UGA, ultimately he “wouldn’t fight it.”

A transfer player already has to sit out one season, per NCAA rules. If I’m a college coach and one of my players was transferring, I think a fair policy is …

  • No restrictions
  • Restrictions against schools in the same conference
  • Restrictions against anybody and everybody because I can

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Additionally, Gregory spoke out against fellow coaches putting severe restrictions on transfer players – which has quickly become a controversial and hotly-debated topic in college athletics. You can read more about it here.

Georgia Tech has two players transferring from the program, guard Glen Rice Jr. and center Nate Hicks.

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Big news: USC player said he’s transferring to Georgia State

USC transfer Curtis Washington said he will have 3 years of eligibility (USC)

USC transfer Curtis Washington said he will have 3 years of eligibility (USC)

USC big man Curtis Washington told the AJC this weekend that he is transferring to Georgia State.

The 6-foot-10, 240-pound forward committed to Georgia State during an official visit this weekend. It was Washington’s first basketball recruiting trip, and he said he also had interest from Western Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas Tech, among others.

“It was really a good fit,” Washington said. “I kind of came down on the visit, not knowing what was going to happen and whether I would like it or not. I just kind of fell in love with the place, the coaches, and my [future] teammates.

“It’s really going to be nice to move closer to home to my family and my grandfather that’s there [in Georgia] … who is not doing too well.”

Washington is from Elizabethtown, Ky., while his grandfather lives around two hours from Atlanta near Macon.

Washington signed with the California school in 2009. He was red-shirted his …

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The next Stephenson? Georgia HS has a half-dozen with early D1 football offers

Remember when Stephenson High School had all of those seniors sign D1 football scholarships last February?

Well, Lovejoy High School is the candidate to be one of the state’s top producers for major-college prospects for 2013.

Lovejoy, which played for the Class AAAA state championship this past season (losing to Tucker), already has six rising seniors that early hold FBS offers.

Here’s the list, according to Lovejoy coach Al Hughes:

  • RB Travis Custis, 6-0, 210: Committed to Georgia Tech
  • TE-DE AJ Jackson, 6-6, 240: Virginia, Arkansas, Purdue, Louisville, Ole Miss, South Florida, Clemson, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, UCLA and Tulane
  • DE-LB Zane Fields, 6-1, 235: Indiana.
  • QB Alejandro Bennifield, 6-3, 210: North Carolina and Furman.
  • ATH Nathanial Norwood, 6-1, 220: Georgia Tech and Jacksonville State.
  • WR-DB Jumichael Ramos, 6-4, 200: South Florida and Florida Atlantic.

Keep an eye on LB-DE Veion Robinson, OL-DL Malcolm Johnson, OL-DL Montell Robinson-Beasley, and LB Eugene …

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VOTE: Panic or patience with start of Georgia Tech’s 2013 recruiting class?

It’s time for …

  • Panic
  • Patience

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Unlike some Georgia Tech fans, Paul Johnson isn’t panicking over the fact that the Yellow Jackets have one commitment for their 2013 recruiting class.

“I don’t worry about it, I’m not too concerned,” Johnson told the AJC on Thursday. “If we get to October or November and we don’t have any commitments, then I will worry about it.”

“We know where we’re at in recruiting. I think we’re doing just fine. We’ll start to get some kids here in the next month or so. I’ve already had some kids tell me that they’re coming. They just don’t want to announce it yet.

“I’m not too worried about it.”

Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson feels confident with the pace of the 2013 recruiting class (AJC)

Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson feels confident with the pace of the 2013 recruiting class (AJC)

Actually, Georgia Tech is on nearly the same pace as last year when it had two commitments by May 1 and finished just fine with a class of 17 signees. For the 2013 class, Georgia Tech will likely only sign 14-15 recruits

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Who is the state’s best college prospect at QB?

Who is the best quarterback in the state of Georgia?

Anthony Jennings, the son of a former UGA football player, made his case this past weekend.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound quarterback from Marietta High School came out of the blue to win MVP honors at the Atlanta Elite 11 Quarterback Camp.

It was a star-studded field of quarterbacks, with 21 holding major-college scholarship offers, including UGA-bound Brice Ramsey of Camden County, UCLA commit Eddie Printz of Lassiter and Vanderbilt recruit Johnathan McCrary of Cedar Grove.

Who is the state's best QB prospect? Atlanta Elite 11 QB MVP Anthony Jennings is part of unusually deep and talented 2013 class out for Georgia (AJC)

Who is the state's best QB prospect? Atlanta Elite 11 QB MVP Anthony Jennings is part of unusually deep and talented 2013 class out for Georgia (AJC)

“Well, that’s for other people to judge and evaluate whether Anthony is the best in the state at the quarterback position,” Marietta coach Scott Burton told the AJC.

“But one man’s opinion, being [Elite 11 coach and ESPN analyst] Trent Dilfer and his staff … they would say ‘yes’ based on his performance. I …

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More Tony Parker fallout … and UGA’s “Plan B” recruit

Tony Parker's 57-minute commitment ceremony stirred up a lot of national buzz (AJC)

Tony Parker's 57-minute commitment ceremony stirred up a lot of national buzz (AJC)

The kid who was UGA’s “Plan B” to Tony Parker kept checking on his cell phone for updates on Monday.

And checking.

And checking again.

And checking a few more times.

Finally at the conclusion of Parker’s infamous 57-minute commitment ceremony in which he ripped off his jacket to reveal a UCLA t-shirt, the “Plan B” could go into effect. Houston Kessler, whose father and late uncle played basketball for UGA, signed with Bulldogs on Tuesday night and faxed in the paperwork on Wednesday.

By the way, did you see the column by ESPN’s Grantland.com which had a humorous reflection and recap of Parker’s ceremony? Click here to read.

Back to Kessler: After losing some sleep over the last week while pondering his future, he could finally celebrate when Parker picked up the UGA baseball cap and quickly put it back down during Monday’s “The Decision II.”

“I was anxious, and probably lost a little sleep and …

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Recruiting Rewind: Gamecocks DB jokes around with George O’Leary

DB Chris Moody flipped from Vanderbilt to South Carolina right before National Signing Day (Photo by 247Sports.com)

DB Chris Moody flipped from Vanderbilt to South Carolina right before National Signing Day (Photo by 247Sports.com)

Chris Moody signed to play for Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina Gamecocks, but not without some drama. The football star from Henry County High School committed to Vanderbilt in late January but switched to South Carolina after taking a last-minute visit on the final recruiting weekend before signing day.

Moody will play defensive back, along with appearances at quarterback in the Wildcat formation, at South Carolina. He shared his recruiting experiences with the AJC:

What was the funniest thing any coach said to you? “It was [George O’Leary] at Central Florida. He asked me: Are you good with the verbs ‘is’ and ‘are’? I was like sure, you know, I do English. [O’Leary] said ‘Which one of these is correct? Is 3 and 2 … 6? Or are 3 and 2 … 6?’ I was like, ‘Coach, 3 and 2 is 6 [is correct grammar].’ He was like, ‘No, you’re wrong on both because 3 and 2 is … 5.’ He …

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Naim Mustafaa: Georgia Tech legacy has change of heart, lists UGA as co-leader

Only a few days after saying he “really wasn’t a Georgia fan,” one of the state’s top college football prospects at linebacker now has UGA as one of his finalists, along with Georgia Tech.

Naim Mustafaa, a 6-foot-4, 235-pounder from Alpharetta High School, told the AJC on Tuesday night that the two archrivals are his finalists, and that he will make his college decision later this spring – or by early summer, at the latest.

Then he corrected himself with the “finalists” terminology. “Georgia Tech and Georgia are at the top of my list. Behind them are Tennessee and Auburn. I’m still going to look at them some. But at the top of my list are Georgia Tech and UGA.”

Georgia Tech legacy has UGA as his co-leader after resolving a little miscommunication (Photo courtest of 247sports.com)

Georgia Tech legacy has UGA as his co-leader after resolving a little miscommunication (Photo courtesy of 247sports.com)

What changed with UGA? The Bulldogs reached out to Mustafaa via Facebook last weekend. Apparently, UGA hadn’t been keeping in touch on a regular basis with Mustafaa, which made him think that the …

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