Georgia’s 2019 basketball recruiting class, which once ranked No. 1 nationally, is now nonexistent.
Lincoln Academy Prep forward Elias King announced his decision to decommit from Georgia after holding a pledge for nearly three months. The four-star wing player followed the actions of Ashton Hagans, the nation’s top-ranked point guard out of Newton.
Each of the player’s decisions to withdraw pledges come as a result of Georgia’s decision to fire Mark Fox after nine years with the program. He led the Bulldogs for nine seasons.
“I de-committed because my coach was fired,” King said toThe Telegraph via text message on Wednesday. “I had a great relationship with the coaching staff. I’m still looking at Georgia as an option. They have not been scratched off of the list.”
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King will also take a look at Kansas, Virginia Tech and UCLA. King carries 16 offers as the third-best prospect in the state of Georgia, according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings.
Hagans and King have both stated interest to consider Georgia after the new coaching hire is announced.
For each of the recruits teetering on their decisions, the assistants play a big role as Jonas Hayes and Phillip Pearson played significant parts in their recruitment. Hayes is known to be the most-beloved amongst the recruits, but is a candidate for head-coaching roles at Western Carolina (where Hayes played prior to transferring to Georgia prior to the 2000-01 season) and Longwood.
If the 2019 class were to stay intact, Georgia would’ve had three consecutive recruiting classes with at least one four-star prospect.
“It’s very important that (Hayes) comes back,” King said. “Me and him are very close.”
For King, however, Fox was the coach he had built the strongest rapport with. The decision to commit to the Bulldogs came after he played a game against Pebblebrook High School on Dec. 17, 2017 and Fox was in attendance.
“He was my guy,” King said. “I was really close with him and Pearson.”
Fox was spoken highly of from coaches within the area he chose to recruit. Most of his success came in the areas north of Atlanta. In his final years with Georgia, Fox spent a significant amount of time in the Gwinnett County area as King and freshmen Teshaun Hightower (Collins Hill) and Rayshaun Hammonds (Norcross) originated from the area.
At Norcross, Fox also landed 2018 signee Jojo Toppin and had interest from 2019 guard Kyle Sturdivant and 2020 forward Brandon Boston.
“With each student-athlete, he was straight forward, honest and clear in regard to what he liked about their games and what needed to be improved,” Norcross head coach Jesse McMillan said. “He would always ask the high school coaches about players' attitudes, maturity levels, and work ethic. It was obvious that he only wanted high-character young men at UGA.”