By Mychal Hunter
I try for you guys, I really do. I am a college basketball fan and my fan hood lies with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. I try to not let that impact my work with ACCBR, but days like today are tough.
The good news is that GT has received their first commitment of the 2019 cycle. That player is 6’9 Russian forward David Didenko. Didenko is a JUCO out of Palm Beach State. He is a do it all player that looks like a long term piece that can potentially be developed. He has a nice stroke and seems to handle the ball with confidence.
Now for the bad. The Yellow Jackets missed out on coveted wing player Marcus Watson, who signed with Oklahoma State. Watson has been the #1 target of the Jackets for almost a year. Coach Josh Pastner has now failed to secure commitments from any of his top targets in the 2019 class. Robbie Beran (Northwestern), Ismael Massoud (Wake Forest), Orlando Robinson (Fresno State), Damian Dunn (Temple), Jamir Chaplin (USF), CJ Felder (Boston College) and now Watson have all decided to sign elsewhere. To put a cherry on it, Chandler Lawson, who recently “postponed” his official visit to Atlanta due to a death in the family, has yet to reschedule. There are whispers that he won’t visit at all now.
This has the potential to get bad in a hurry for Pastner. While he has reinvigorated the fan base with events, social media, give-a-ways and casting a nation wide recruiting net, the results just aren’t there. Jose Alvarado was a good get. Mike Devoe was a great get, but one or two good players every couple of years aren’t going to get it done when teams like Virginia Tech and North Carolina State are starting to be really consistent on the trail. Hell, Boston College is beating Tech on the trail right now.
You can point to whatever you want, academics, lack of majors, style of play, refusing to cheat, whatever. The bottom line is: The Jackets aren’t predicted to be very good in 2018-19 and it doesn’t seem like the 2019 class is going to be bringing immediate impact players. A bad result this season coupled with a subpar recruiting class will no doubt be answered in the form of attendance in the 2019-20 season.