But when Oliver Purnell unexpectedly and unceremoniously left Clemson (for DePaul of all places) Fox and everyone else around the South had their shot to take a player they didn’t expect to be there.
Suddenly Marcus Thornton didn’t have a team… suddenly Fox had an opportunity.
It was a chance for Fox and company to show that they can recruit. 2010 was going to be a difficult slog, as basketball recruiting tends to be, but Thornton’s problem became Georgia’s opening.
By grabbing Thornton today, Georgia and Fox show two things: 1. That, given the time to form relationships, they can effectively recruit; 2. In-state recruiting makes the most sense for the basketball program at Georgia.
Fox didn’t really have the chance to recruit the top players in Georgia last spring because of the accelerated nature of basketball recruiting. Players commit to programs uber early and that makes if overwhelmingly difficult for new coaches to recruit effectively.
Case in point: Thornton had committed to Clemson while Dennis Felton was still coaching at Georgia.
Also, and this can not be overlooked considering the 2011 class in Georgia, the Dawgs need to stay in state first and go out from there. There is too much talent in Georgia for the home state school to go away from it.
Consider in-state 2011:
Kentavious Caldwell is a five-star stud shooter… Georgia needs to sign him, and they can. Dai-Jon Parker from Milton, also a five-star shooter, is uncommitted, and interested in Georgia. Julian Royal, also from Milton is a four-star teammate of Parker’s and is also uncommitted. Signing those three and possibly Nick Jacobs, a four-star power forward from South Atlanta High, would net Fox and company a top ten (perhaps higher) class for 2011. Lest we forget Wilcox’s Nick Marshall.
This is the essence of building a basketball program. For too long Georgia has failed to produce in-state. Now, with the addition of Thornton (who Scout.com considers a three-star prospect, and who will need to develop), Fox has a real chance for the first time, maybe ever, to make a recruiting run with Georgia players that can produce a national title.
No, that’s not a stretch. Adding the 2011 players I discussed as well as a critically important 2012 player – Tony Parker, a five-star player who is teammates with current Georgia signee Donte Williams. And perhaps Evan Nolte, another Milton star – will give Georgia the skill needed to win the national title in 2013 or 2014. If nothing else it will give Georgia tremendous depth and competition in practice every day.
Fox can do it, but he needs players. You can see everything lining up in the right direction for Georgia recruiting in basketball for once. Actually, you can see everything lining for up for Georgia in basketball recruiting for the first time ever.