Posted: 11:46 am Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

The story behind UGA’s big recruiting victory 

By Michael Carvell

UGA beat out Michigan State and Indiana for 3-star Yante Maten (susanadamsphoto.com)

UGA beat out Michigan State and Indiana for 3-star Yante Maten (susanadamsphoto.com)

UGA has to wait exactly one more week to officially claim one of its biggest recruiting victories under basketball coach Mark Fox.

Yante Maten, a 6-foot-8 forward from Bloomfield Hills, Mich., abruptly committed to UGA last Saturday night. He’s only ranked as a 3-star prospect but the pledge was a pretty big deal in recruiting circles because the Bulldogs beat out hometown favorite Michigan State, along with Indiana.

Although Maten been contacted by other colleges this week – and the courtship will likely continue until he officially signs his UGA papers next Wednesday — his mother told the AJC that the Bulldogs have nothing to worry about.

“Yante remains faithful to God, and because God told us to go Georgia, he will remain faithful to God because that’s what God said to do,” said Maten’s mother, Toiya Paige. “He could have chosen any school but he decided to go where he was told to go. And he remains obedient to that.”

Maten is one of two 2014 commitments that UGA got last weekend, along with Fred Iduwe, a 6-11 center from near Milwaukee. Maten was recently named Michigan’s Gatorade Player of the Year.

“He’s like your typical 17-year-old boy,” Bloomfield Hills coach Duane Graves said. “I mean, he’s 6-foot-8 and all 235 pounds. He doesn’t have a tattoo or a pierced ear. He doesn’t swear. He’s a young man who is down to Earth, and very religious.

“Georgia won the lottery and doesn’t realize it yet. He took our team on his back and carried us to the state finals in Michigan, and we weren’t even supposed to be there. We’re a blue-ribbon school where we produce academic scholars, not basketball players or football players. What Yante did for (our high school) is awesome.”

Last fall, Maten took official visits to both Colorado and Utah, but he decided to hold off until April’s late signing period. The gamble paid off for Yaten, who had a monster senior season in front of college scouts; both Michigan State and Indiana extended scholarship offers at the end of March.

But UGA fended off the Big Ten powerhouses.

“Yante has been praying for several months for the Lord to speak to him,” Paige said. “I told him from the very beginning that he would hear the Lord’s voice audibly. And so he heard from the Lord last Saturday night after he fasted and prayed. It was Georgia, so that’s where Yante is going.”

It was a big recruiting win for UGA for several reasons, including the fact that Maten’s mother attended Michigan State and that the recruiting battle took place on the home turf of the Spartans.

“It was a big deal to get that offer from Michigan State,” Paige said. “They’re a good team, and they went very far this year. I went to Michigan State, but that’s not where Yante was supposed to go. He was supposed to go, according to God, to Georgia.”

Could things have turned out differently if Michigan State had offered Maten earlier? Maybe not, but maybe so.

“I think Michigan and Michigan State are so worried about being national brands right now,” Graves said. “They’re recruiting nationally and not doing a good enough job locally to get a kid like him. I’ve seen a lot more out-of-state schools in my gym within the last year than I have local schools. I just think sometimes when you get big, you forget about the small things, and the things that made you big.

Michigan's 2014 Gatorade Player of the Year (susanadamsphoto.com)

Michigan’s 2014 Gatorade Player of the Year (susanadamsphoto.com)

“Georgia was the best fit for him for his education, for his spiritual life, and for basketball. He had some pretty good offers on the table. But he felt like Georgia was the right place for him. I give him credit for making the right decision for him and his family and not taking the popular decision that everybody else wanted him to take. Michigan State would’ve been the popular choice to take.”

Since Maten committed to UGA, he has heard from other colleges, his mother confirmed. “A couple of coaches have sent text messages after Saturday, but I think those were just ‘why’ questions. ‘Why not us versus Georgia?’ But we haven’t been inundated with (communication).”

While de-commitments are popular in college football (nearly a third of the Georgia’s 2013 signees switched their commitments at least once before signing), it’s not as common in basketball. Maten’s mother and coach said the prized prospect is ready to sign with UGA next Wednesday.

“Yante remains faithful to God, and because God told us to go Georgia, he will remain faithful to God,” Paige said. “Because that’s what God said. He could have chosen any school but he decided to go where he was told to go. And he remains obedient to that.”

“This is what I can tell you about this family: When they make their decision, that’s their decision,” Graves said. “We’re a public school, and right down the road we have basketball factory called (Detroit) Country Day, where they produced (Ohio State center) Amir Williams (and NBA stars Chris Webber and Shane Battier). They try to come into your school and take your best players. And Yante chose to stay at a public school right down the road from them, and not go to a school like that.

“He’s not going to change his mind about Georgia. Once his mind is made, and once his Lord and Savior has made his decision for him, he’s going to stick with it. Other colleges can try, but I don’t think anything is going to change.”

As a senior, Maten averaged 19.5 points, 15.2 rebounds and 6.9 blocks per game. He will study Wildlife Biology at UGA.

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– By Michael Carvell, AJC’s Recruiting Blog

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71 comments
RangeRover
RangeRover

“He’s like your typical 17-year-old boy,” Bloomfield Hills coach Duane Graves said. “I mean, he’s 6-foot-8 and all 235 pounds. He doesn’t have a tattoo or a pierced ear. He doesn’t swear. He’s a young man who is down to Earth, and very religious."

Thank God for good parenting leading to good, mature, self-confident and humble kids.

NothingToGain
NothingToGain

I can't figure you FANS out!? First you don't want a player that doesn't fit the TEBOW model, then when you get one, he gets torn down before he even gets to you, and you have a chance to meet him. You do realize a big part of winning is not killing a young guys spirit and drive before he even gets started, don't you!?

DavidThead
DavidThead

Its tourney time for the Dawgs in 15

ElemennoP
ElemennoP

Some of you posters are incredible.


You mock a person's faith?  So free speech and freedom of religion only applies when it suites your opinion?


I guess you would prefer him to be a thug going around using "muhfugga" and "n!gga"  all the time, having tats adorn his and get caught with 200 pounds of weed in his car claiming he didn't know anything about it.


Those of you hollering "hyprocrites" are also hyprocritical.  Geez.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

When you big christians come back around holler at me.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Mom probably wants to move to GA like the other gazillion transplants.

Then again, who wants to live in michigan?

HotDawg
HotDawg

No tattoos! No pierced ears! Doesn't swear!

He's one of my favorite players already!

RaleighDawg
RaleighDawg

He'll be a Housing major by graduation and Fox will have broken him just like he's broken every other big man he's had at UGA. 

TampGator1
TampGator1

People who say they talk to God and God talks back to them about where they should go to play college basketball.....just scare the "bejesus" out of me. 

TampGator1
TampGator1

I woke up about 3pm last night and God told me to stay far, far away from this recruit's mother.   OH.....MY! 

Dawg-Gawn
Dawg-Gawn

Welcome Yante Maten and family to the Dawg Nation... no better place... to get the G on!

Belief + Faith = Clear Vision

1 Cross + 3 Nails = 4 Given

"BELIEVE" in the G

ConfederateFlagBurner
ConfederateFlagBurner

I think Fox is a good coach and I'm glad to hear he got what appears to be a good young man for his program. If he can get recruiting down he may be able to do some damage soon. 

BigTimeTECHFan
BigTimeTECHFan

Fox is a great coach, UGA basketball turned the corner this year, I could see them playing in the NCAA tourney next year.

slydawg
slydawg

Where is the recruiting victory? What are the chances a 3-star recruit is a prime target for either Michigan State or Indiana? The recruit made the best possible choice for him: He has a better chance for playing time at Georgia, considering the present talent and program. Makes sense to me. It will be a victory when a much-coveted recruit from Georgia, like on Caldwell-Pope's level, decides to sign with the program.

VinceVanGo
VinceVanGo

Come on folks get on the Georgia B. Ball Bulldogs bandwagon. Mark Fox is doing a great job. He's got good kids who are very good players, and they graduate! That should be important to us all. That's why they call them scholarships. They come to college to get an education & play sports too. If you just want an NBA Development Program you need to move to Lexington, KY. This young man sounds like a great kid & player from a good home. I support those kind of recruits. If the recruits happen to be from a rougher life, I support them as well & sincerely hope they take full advantage of their scholarship & basketball opportunities, and become very productive young people in America's future. As for local recruits,  4 of Georgia's projected 5 starters this year will be from the Atlanta area, but if you look at the team makeup of the best programs that were in the NCAA tourney this year their players are from multiple states.  Coach Fox can't make the in state kids come to Georgia. I've  said many many times, I'd rather have the 2-3 star recruits that will stay for 4  years than the 5 star recruits that will stay for 1 year. That seems to be Coach Fox's plan.  Coach Fox is building a program(the right way), not an NBA pipeline. I am predicting 20-22 wins before the SEC tournament next year & an invite to the Big Dance. If everybody stays in school they could do even better the year after that. Give the Bulldogs basketball program a chance & your support and let's see how far the "Foxtrot" can go!

Dawg350
Dawg350

UGA is going to take over basketball next! Our recruiting is starting to get better! Go you hairy dawgs!

keendaddy
keendaddy

Tina-Tina,

Woot, Woot. Ever get down to the Savannah area?

keendaddy
keendaddy

@ToiyaPaige,

It's easy to see that the apple didn't fall far from your tree! Welcome to The University of Georgia. If you can put up with our trolls (most of them from Georgia Tech), we would love you're input.

Armydawg
Armydawg

Wow!  Bring on signing day!  Welcome to the Bulldog Nation young man!!

keendaddy
keendaddy

What a great kid. UGA was lucky to get him, and I see him starting early!

dawgonit
dawgonit

I just hope God tells him to make free throws.

TIII
TIII

The 2015 class needs to have home grown talent. It's fine to supplement a class with out of state recruits every so often, but the state of Georgia puts out far too many high level prospects for UGA to miss out on the top talent every year.  

Delusionaldog
Delusionaldog

Just keep  him out of the dorms and away from the digital scales! 

Buzz-Off
Buzz-Off

Great catches for the Dawgs. If a few of our local kids would stay home, UGa could be a real force since we already have a great coach.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@ElemennoP Elmo you got it backwards, the posters are the hypocrites not the recruit. He looks to be a fine young man. Good get for UGA.

thebucket
thebucket

@TampGator1 So people like Mother Theresa and Billy Graham scare you? A person who is serious about their relationship with God believe that relationship affects every single decision that they make. But, hey, if mocking Christian people is your gig, then have it.

RangeRover
RangeRover

@TampGator1  

I've known for awhile you're a piece of trash...thanks for validating it!

keendaddy
keendaddy

I'm pretty sure nobody cares if you like this kid, who values religion (which you obviously don't), or not. Troll some place else. Also, if you wakeup tonight at 3pm (moron), it'll mean we had a Solar Eclipse , lol. Come on TG, stop being jealous and mad because Florida folded!

POAD2013
POAD2013

@slydawg  at UGa he can be a Star but ant Michigan or Michigan State not so much. he made a good choice for his ability to get more of the spotlight.

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

@slydawg  Huh?  "Where is the recruiting victory?  What are the chances a 3-star recruit is a prime target for either Michigan State or Indiana?


Uh, what part of "both Michigan State and Indiana extended scholarship offers at the end of March" did you not understand?  


If your emphasis is on the "prime target" aspect, I would not consider him to be a "prime target" for UGA, either, especially at this late date in recruiting...sometimes Carvell gets a little carried away in his hype of ANY recruit in the ATL area, whether it is football or basketball... 


And I totally agree with your last sentence, however.

Dawg350
Dawg350

Vince van go

That's right baby...all abroad! Tonight I'm going clogging and gonna do the foxtrot! I was born a bulldog and I will die one...if you cut me open I bleed red black silver and white! Mark fox you rule baby!

POAD2013
POAD2013

@Buzz-Off  And they might not have to take classes to get a passing grade or they can take classes where they are aske what a 3 point shout is worth in basketball......

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@keendaddy What bar was that you told me to meet you at that time? And mr.POAD christian when its stylish you make me want to go moist and vomit. i cant stand a damn hypocrite.

keendaddy
keendaddy

Don't you just love the Tolerant Left? Lol...

Dawg350
Dawg350

Card

Don't be smart azz!

keendaddy
keendaddy

Gtcaryd,

sure you can. Just be a good boy, lol. Last time I looked, Jesus was ok turning water to wine. Just love others, don't murder, lie, steal, commit adultery, or idolatry, and let the chips fall where they fall. Basically, you can be a great influence, even in a bar! Jesus walked amongst the sinners to influence them, lol...

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@keendaddy Sounds to me like we are quite similar in our beliefs. Just saw no need to gang up on TG, especially not POAD. I know whats in my heart, i just can not sit on a stool on Friday night and then sit in a Pew Sunday morning.

keendaddy
keendaddy

Gtcaryd,

I'm not mocking Religion, TG1 was, so I mocked him. As for me at a bar, what's that got to do with Christianity? I see your true colors finally came out. The anti Religious use words like hypocrite, because of their intolerance of Christians. What I said to TG1 was warranted. What you said was just another typical response from someone who fears others choices about their life style. Sooooooooo, you think I'm a hypocrite for going to a bar once a week? That's between me and My God...

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@keendaddy Go about 7 posts up and you will see where that christian was agreeing with Ralighdawg i a belittling statement, as i said Hypocrites.

Dawg350
Dawg350

Gators finished 4-8 last year! How's that for graduating the 8th grade?

Dawg350
Dawg350

Card

Another cop out. Wow...who would of thunk it.

Dawg350
Dawg350

Card

No you are just a smart azz! The first sign of getting help is admitting you have a problem...you are just an arse hole.