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Michael CarvellMichael Carvell

Georgia Tech could add more to 2014 recruiting class

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3 is how many Georgia Tech has signed so far for 2014 (AJC)

3 is how many Georgia Tech has signed so far for 2014 (AJC)

Georgia Tech basketball coach Brian Gregory has at least one more available scholarship for this year, but hasn’t decided whether or not to use it.

Last week, the Yellow Jackets added Abdoulaye Gueye, a 6-foot-10 forward from Senegal, as the third member of the 2014 signing class. They’ve also gotten a commitment from South Florida transfer Josh Heath.

“It depends on how everything unfolds,” said Gregory, when asked about using that last scholarship. “We’re obviously active in recruiting. As I always say, there’s a whole other season of recruiting now with transfers and things like that. Recruiting never stops. We have available scholarships, so we’re always looking.”

Right now, Georgia Tech has one scholarship open to add another recruit. Of course, another spot could become available if a current player decides to transfer at the end of the semester.

Is there any position in particular that Georgia Tech is looking to fill with that scholarship? Maybe a scorer or a big man?

“We’re looking for the best available player,” Gregory said. “We continue to need to bring in quality players, and players who will play. If that means we need to play (with a small lineup) at times, then we’ve got to play small. If we play everyone who is 6-7 of 6-8 out there, we will do that.

“Right now, when you’re down to having one or two scholarships left, you’re looking for your best available player.”

The transferring of players has become epidemic across the college basketball landscape. Gregory was asked if he thought it was “wise” for Georgia Tech to go ahead and fill that last spot rather than carry it over to next year. (My theory is that carrying it over might be a wasted spot due to the high rate of transfers. Why not just go ahead and fill that spot with a body?)

“No, not really,” Gregory said. “You’ve got to look at it that if you use one, and that guy is not a good fit, or he’s not good enough, or he’s a transfer and he has to sit out a year — it always affects your recruitment down the road. You’ve still got to bring in guys that you think can play for you.

“You don’t fill a scholarship just to fill it. You can’t do that. You only get 13 of them. Even guys that you’ve studied for years and think are going to play, some take two years to figure it out. Some never figure it out, and some figure it out the first day. So those are guys that you’ve evaluated and you really believe in. So you can’t take a guy just to fill a scholarship. Or at least we would never do that.”

In last November’s early period, Georgia Tech signed Tadric Jackson, a 6-2 shooting guard from Tift County High School, and Ben Lammers, a 6-10 center from San Antonio.

Gueye sort of caught everybody by surprise last Thursday by signing with Georgia Tech. He was expected to take longer to reach a decision.

“We knew throughout the year that we wanted to continue to recruit some guys with size, length and versatility,” Gregory said. “We looked at eight to 10 guys, and the guy we liked the best was AG.

“I went and saw him. I watched him on film, and I went and saw him live. And he’s got great length, and he has got an unbelievable demeanor on the court. He has got a high motor. He has got a good skill package. He plays with an energy level in a practice that you could tell was infectious with the other guys on the team. And that’s important to me for our program.

“We brought him up on a visit, and offered a scholarship. He had already visited Minnesota and Texas Tech. Auburn was trying to get a visit, as well as Mississippi State. And he decided to make his commitment and come to Georgia Tech.”

Gueye is profiled in this story by the AJC’s Ken Sugiura.

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