Sunday, January 27, 2013

Whatever Happened to

Jim Harrick's final recruiting class? 

Before Jim Harrick was dismissed back in 2003, he had a five-man recruiting class signed up.  Three freshmen and two JUCO's. 

Some Georgia fans were excited, but I didn't think much of the class at the time.  Sure, Harrick's basketball squad was performing well, but I had had gotten pumped up before about Harrick's recruiting.  The class that fooled me once was the 2002 signees, Harrick's next to last recruiting group of Alexander Johnson, Larry Turner and Julius Lamptey.  They ran 6' 10", 6' 10" and 7.0'.  Georgia was finally getting some athletic big men! 

The problem was that none of them got into school.

Well, as it turned out, Harrick's 2003 class didn't get into UGA either, but that was because they all asked for their releases after Harrick was dismissed-- everyone but Corey Gibbs, who was the lone recruit from the state of Georgia.  He did honor his letter of intent and enrolled.

In the aftermath of the Harrick melt-down, some basketball boosters were upset.  I was, too.  My concern was about the future of the basketball program.  But there were guys who lamented what could have been, especially in light of Harrick's "fantastic 2003 recruiting class."  One fan told me that Harrick's class was ranked in the top ten back then. 

I don't remember any top ten ranking, can't find evidence of it now, and I don't think he had it right.  In any case, the proof is in the pudding.  Know how many of that fantastic class made it to the NBA?  You got it.  Zip.  They didn't even perform that well in the college ranks.

Jordan Howell transferred to UT where he averaged 4 pts a game on 32 percent shooting.  He got 1 rebound a contest.

Marcus Jackson transferred to Marquette.  He netted 2.5 pts and 5 rebounds for his career.

Mohamed Abukar transferred to Florida.  In 2 years Abukar averaged 4 pts and 1 rebound per game while playing against SEC competition.  He transferred again, apparently homesick for San Diego and put up 15 and 6. 

Cassiano Matheus was a 3-star who transferred to Utah State.  He averaged 7 pts and 4 bds playing against basketball powerhouses Idaho, South Dakato State and Hawaii.

Corey Gibbs averaged 4 pts and 3 bds, but never played well for Georgia because of a bad knee injury incurred his senior year of high school.

Bottom line:  Maybe one of Harrick's recruits might have helped UGA basketball in a significant way.  Maybe.  But Harrick's failures in recruiting had the program on a downward spiral long before the ethical issues came to light.

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