The Same Old Story
By: JJ Lanier
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Optimism among Georgia Bulldog basketball fans had to be pretty high two years ago after the program brought in Tom Crean to be their head coach.
He was the highest profile coach since Jim Harrick (minus the baggage) with a Final Four appearance under his belt and stops at Marquette and Indiana.
The excitement only increased with the signing of Anthony Edwards last year, giving the impression that the basketball team just may be on the brink of turning things around and becoming more competitive in the SEC.
After two seasons of Crean being at the helm, and having the possible #1 draft pick, the hope would be the team would be able to build upon that momentum with a top-level recruiting class. I’m not sure the 2020 class is quite what fans would’ve hoped for.
To be fair, I’m not saying the expectation should be like that of a Duke or Kentucky; obviously that’s the goal, just not a very realistic one.
When I look at Georgia’s incoming class there are there two things that stick out to me; the level of talent and the number of transfer/JUCO players.
KD Johnson, the four-star point guard out of Virginia, is the prize recruit in the class. The good news on Johnson is he comes from an elite high school program and should be a very productive four-year player for Georgia.
The bad news is your star recruit is a borderline top 100 player and there’s a pretty precipitous drop off after him.
Besides Josh Taylor, the three star forward from Norcross, the rest of the class consists of two JUCO players, (Mikal Starks, Jonathan Ned) who will more than likely spend most of their time in Athens as practice players, two mediocre transfers from inferior conferences (Justin Kier, Andrew Garcia) and a role player, (PJ Horne) who at least played in a major conference with Virginia Tech.
Oh, and Kier, Garcia, and Horne will only be in Athens for one year, so it’s not like they were recruited to be developed for future seasons. They’re basically one-year rentals so Georgia can fill out a roster, which leads me to the high school recruits to transfers ratio of this incoming class.
The fact that five of the seven players in this year’s class are basically transfers, and not very sought after ones at that, is a bit concerning. I understand Georgia lost a lot of players after this season, but outside of the two players who transferred out of the program, none of them should’ve been a surprise.
Considering Crean is having to fill his roster with JUCO players and graduate transfers means he either wasn’t prepared, which isn’t a good look, or he wasn’t getting much interest from high school players, which is what I’m afraid may be the case.
The state of Georgia offered eight of the top players from the state and the only one they were able to sign was Taylor, ranked tenth.