Georgia’s convincing win over Georgia Tech also served as one of the program’s biggest recruiting victories under Mark Fox.
It served as assurance for not one, but two, upper-echelon backcourt prospects. The Bulldogs landed their first five-star prospect since 2011 in Ashton Hagans, and four-star Elias King out of Shiloh has followed right behind him.
King was perched alongside Hagans in a large Stegeman Coliseum crowd and saw Georgia be selfless with the basketball and play as a defensive unit en route to an 80-59 victory over its intrastate rival.
“I knew after that game that Georgia was the place for me,” King said shortly after announcing his commitment on Atlanta-based radio station V103 Wednesday night. “Coach Fox lets his players play. He lets them be free on offense, as long as you play defense.”
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King gives Georgia its second commitment within the span of a week, and the program now holds two of the three top prospects in the state for the 2019 class, according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings. While the potential for Hagans to reclassify and join the team next season is present, the same cannot be said for King as he plans to graduate from Shiloh on time.
King is the latest display of Georgia’s success in recruiting players that originate in Gwinnett County. Throughout its past three recruiting cycles (2017-19), the Bulldogs have either signed or received pledges from four Gwinnett County products: Teshaun Hightower (Collins Hill), Rayshaun Hammonds and JoJo Toppin (Norcross) and King (Shiloh). Georgia also has more targets on the board from the area such as Buford’s Marcus Watson (2019) and Norcross products Kyle Sturdivant (2019) and Brandon Boston (2020).
Georgia has become a step closer to making its presence known in the abundantly-talented home state. The latest pledge gives Georgia the top-ranked recruiting class nationally for 2019, according to 247Sports.com.
Not only is football head coach Kirby Smart piling up victories on the recruiting trail, but Fox has joined in as well.
“I feel good about Elias because he is a great shot creator in the 2019 class – definitely a big name in the state,” said Amanze Ngumezi, a 2018 pledge out of Savannah. “It just shows that we are capable of getting the best players in the state of Georgia. If that continues, we could really turn things up in the SEC.”
Added King: “It’s an honor (to have the top ranking nationally). Expect more to come.”
The recruitment of King became a collective effort for Georgia as assistant coach Phillip Pearson led the efforts with additional visits and conversations from Fox and assistant Jonas Hayes – who King calls an “amazing” recruiter.
Hagans also played a factor in solidifying King’s decision as the two have built a relationship and plan to team-up on an AAU squad. But Georgia became special to King based on two key messages.
“It’s about the way they love you as a person, and not just a player,” King said. “I also see Rayshaun Hammonds getting important minutes as a freshman, and it’s great knowing that I can play out of the gate.”