Posted: 11:59 pm Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Georgia’s top two basketball prospects could both be free agents soon (UPDATED) 

By Michael Carvell

Both of the state’s top two basketball prospects could be free agents after coaching changes at the colleges they signed with last fall.

One already is. Ahmed Hill, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Aquinas high school, said he has been granted a release from Marquette.

Meanwhile, the coach of JaKeenan Gant, a 6-7 forward from Effingham County High School, is “reviewing his situation” with Missouri upon Thursday’s reports that coach Frank Haith was hired away by Tulsa.

Gant is rated as the state’s No. 1 overall prospect for 2014 in the 247sports.com composite rankings, followed by Hill.

No. 1 JaKeenan Gant (247sports)

No. 1 JaKeenan Gant (247sports)

“’Wow’ is all I can say,” Gant’s coach at Effingham County, Donnie Arrington, told the AJC on Thursday. “I would think that this would really upset the apple cart a little bit.

“This whole recruiting thing has been crazy, and (Haith leaving) makes it even crazier. I will talk to JaKeenan and his mother, and I’m sure we’ll be reviewing his situation to make the best decision for him.”

Gant’s coach hinted that he will probably request a release, but couldn’t say for sure. Meanwhile, Hill told the AJC on Thursday that he has already been granted a release from Marquette’s new coach, Steve Wojciechowski.

“He wanted me to come there, but I really didn’t want to,” Hill said. “It’s just that I didn’t have a relationship with the new coaches, so I didn’t want to waste their time.”

On the night before, Hill tweeted out his de-commit announcement because because coach Buzz Williams had left Marquette for Virginia Tech, along with a heartfelt apology to Marquette fans.

“I just didn’t want to get on anybody’s bad side,” Hill said. “I felt bad about it because I really did want to go to Marquette. It didn’t work out because of the coaching change, and I just don’t want anybody to have any hatred toward me.”

Since breaking things off with Marquette, Hill said he hasn’t talked to any head coaches, but has gotten feelers from Virginia Tech, Florida and UGA, among others schools.

“I’ve heard from a couple of schools,” Hill said. “They just texted me. I havent’ replied. I’m just sitting back and thinking it through. I don’t really know what I’m going to do right now. All of this happened so fast.

“I just want to talk to some head coaches, and hear why they are interested in me. I’ll get a good feel from that. And then I will discuss it with my mother, and we’ll figure out some schools to visit.”

No. 2 Ahmed Hill (AJC)

No. 2 Ahmed Hill (AJC)

Gant’s coach declined to speculate which schools his prized prospect might be interested in. Georgia Tech and UGA were among the top contenders when Gant abruptly committed to Missouri last August after his first and only official visit.

UGA signed two players on Wednesday and has filled up its scholarship allotment, unless another player transfers or quits. Georgia Tech has signed three players this year, but has one more roster spot available.

Gant and Hill are best buddies after being AAU teammates on the Southern Stampede. Hill admitted that he was thinking seriously about joining Gant at Missouri until he heard about Haith’s departure on Thursday.

Virginia Tech also seems likely to be a possible destination.

“My relationship with (Williams) is still strong,” Hill said. “But with Virginia Tech, I don’t really know. It’s just so hard to win the ACC. I really don’t honestly know. I haven’t talked to (Williams) yet. I know one of the assistants texted me, and said he was going to talk to me later on today.

“But again, I want to talk to the head coaches of a few schools, get a good feel, and go from there.”

  • UPDATED: This was just brought to my attention: Last week, Jakeenan Gant transferred from Effingham County High School to a prep school in Missouri, according to SavannahNow.com’s Dennis Knight. Gant enrolled at School of the Osage in Lake Ozark, Mo. – less than six weeks from high school graduation.

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– By Michael Carvell, AJC’s Recruiting Blog

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21 comments
Averys-No1GT-Man
Averys-No1GT-Man

Tech has one Roster spot available now, but they could easily make room for both. Tech is in need of players that can shoot from the perimeter more so than big men. They're no excuses for a team going on streaks of 6-9 minutes without a a FG like Tech would do every game last season. I Like Brian Gregory as a person but he is NO ACC caliber coach PERIOD! Just watching how much Dayton's Program has changed for the better since Gregory has left should tell you something. Yes Gregory deserves a pass for his 1st year at Tech if nothing else but the fact of No Home court. But then he has had great things to get great recruits to come to Tech and so far the only recruit that is working out like he should is Carter. I think Jorgensen will also be a tremendous player if he comes back 100%! Overall Marcus Georges-Hunt has been a disappointment offensively but he is a GREAT DEFENDER!  Who knows about Bolden. All I know is in every game he played in this past season he played so dang Lazy and had the look like he had rather been anywhere but playing Basketball! It's Time to part ways with Gregory and bring in Mark Price.   

jeantoby4891
jeantoby4891

Come to UGA, help put the Bulldogs on the may, already have a good team coming back. Help put us over the top. Gant and Hill......saw both of you play... great players....We beat Hill and Aquinas on a last minute layup his jr. year but never beat Gant

JM64
JM64

Does the SEC have any rules regarding releasing players from LOI's and restricting them from other SEC schools?

WillieRay
WillieRay

Maybe there should be a signing period for coaches.

Remarkable3
Remarkable3

Why would the coach say he would talk to Gant and his mother if the kid has transfered? That doesn't make sense.  

I kind of hope we can get Hill.

Caius
Caius

I would love to see Ahmed Hill and Tadric Jackson on the floor together at GT.  But I am not sure either player would want that.


Gant would fit in with either the GT of UGA roster.


“But with Virginia Tech, I don’t really know. It’s just so hard to win the ACC."  This is a fascinating statement by Hill. Wow!


HotDawg
HotDawg

The switching of high schools throws up more red flags than the kid wanting to switch colleges.

Out of control.

Jim70
Jim70

If hill can hit any distance jump shot, he should go to tech.  the sky is the limit.  but if he can't, then else where. 

ADawgIsADawg
ADawgIsADawg

PaulinNH, I hate to speculate but do you think Haith's a clean recruiter. In other words, he got Miami going (Strong ACC) and then jumps to Mizzou (weak SEC) and now takes a step down to Tulsa. Something just isn't right. And now we learn that Gant transferred to a school in Missouri - with weeks left in his senior year - sounds fishy. I wonder if that was at the behest of Haith.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

JaKeenan Grant just dodged a bullet.  If Haith hadn't bailed on Mizzou for Tulsa he would have likely been out before the 2015-16 season anyway.  Haith has gone from the ACC to the SEC to Conference USA - maybe he'll find a level his competitive level a couple of stops later in the Southland Conference

ADawgIsADawg
ADawgIsADawg

Two Things: First Charlestondog - you are an idiot. Second - you are a troll masquerading as a 'dawg' fan. Like Slydawg, UGA basketball fans would love to have either of these guys. And with Tim Dixon transferring, and a scholarship now available, here's hoping we can get one of these kids. 

Charlestondog
Charlestondog

Idiots should have stayed in state.  No sympathy here for you two since you decided to leave the state.  Hope you have to sit out a year and watch from the sidelines. 

slydawg
slydawg

Tech and Georgia should go after both players aggressively regardless of their current and future rosters. Both are not necessarily considered one and dones and instantly better than anybody on both rosters. This is business. Being closer to home at this late stage is an advantage.

ConfederateFlagBurner
ConfederateFlagBurner

I hope Tech goes after Gant, they need more bigs. Ahmed would be a good get but they signed Tadric earlier this year. What Tech really needs is someone to replace the Hobbit 

BleedingGold
BleedingGold

Hill is actually considering going to the Williams who just fled the school he was committed to?  Good luck, kid.

Would love Tech to get him.  Everyone knows we need a shooter.

jeantoby4891
jeantoby4891

@JM64 yes left up to the school, they can release them completely or grant their release only if they do not go to a SEC school

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@ADawgIsADawg  

I agree with you - something doesn't pass the sniff test here.

I don't know whether Haith is a clean recruiter, but he was given a 5 game suspension by the NCAA for his dealings with Nevin Shapiro when he was HC at Miami.  Miami was put on probation as well.  Haith was lucky to avoid a show-cause penalty.

The recruiting of Grant seems a little strange as well - commits to Mizzou on his first visit and never visits UGA or GT.  Then again - this could be Nike at work,  The Southern Stampede and Mizzou are both Nike teams - then again so is UGA

slydawg
slydawg

I think Haith may have been "encouraged" to take a job elsewhere. Mizzou and the SEC overall is trying to give the appearance of cleaning up.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@slydawg

 "the SEC overall is trying to give the appearance of cleaning up"

Auburn didn't get the memo - their new hire still has a little time to go on his show-cause penalty.