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.
“’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.”
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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