The Shot Clock with Josh Tec: Early Signing Period in the Peach State
Happy Monday, hoop heads!
I am back in the Peach after spending a week in San Diego with family. I love Georgia, but I can’t help but question whether or not I made the right decision to come home. San Diego is a pretty, pretty nice place.
Nonetheless, I’m ready to dive headfirst back into hoops. I went straight from the plane to Berkmar for three games of the Double Trouble invitational. It was my start to the high school season. You’ll be able to read some of my notes from those games tomorrow.
Before I dig into Saturday’s action, last week was a busy one in the state because the early signing period began on Wednesday and ends on November 16.
As we all know, Georgia is one of the hotbeds of basketball in the country, so there hasn’t been a lack of players to sign to schools at all levels, and there are plenty more to come.
This week’s edition of The Shot Clock will be a snapshot of what has happened so far and what might happen in the future.
Stephon Castle is the best player to sign so far. The Newton guard has signed his NLI to play at UConn. I don’t like this. I love it.
Dan Hurley and the Huskies have taken advantage of a down recruiting class in the Big East, and they grabbed a top-20 player in the 2023 class in Castle.
Right away, Castle can see the floor via his poise and scoring as a bigger combo guard. Long term, he has as much defensive upside as most in this class. He could turn into a stout multi-positional defender during his time in Storrs.
Brandon Rechsteiner fits with Mike Young at Virginia Tech so well. I mean, this is as perfect of a fit as there is. The Etowah guard falls in line with the guards that Young has developed well throughout his time at Wofford and Virginia Tech.
Rechsteiner can see the floor early on with his ability to knock down shots from the perimeter, and I have faith that he’ll develop into the floor general that Young has succeeded with plenty in the past.
Kaden Cooper is going back home to play for Oklahoma. I’m not sure if he’ll be there for the Sooners’ transition to the SEC, but if he is there for that, it’ll make the fit even better. He’s an explosive wing who keeps leveling up.
In the Big 12, he’ll be able to provide Oklahoma with athleticism and length. His upside is especially high as a defender. In the SEC, Cooper would have plenty of college experience under his belt, and he fits the league’s style well. He’d help make Oklahoma’s move as seamless as possible.
Brigham Rogers is another name that comes to mind here. The 6-foot-9 forward pairs so well with Belmont because of his overall two-way versatility. He’s going to be able to play a significant amount as a freshman, and I have faith in him evolving into a go-to guy for the Bruins during his time in Nashville. When you think about the totality of a college career, there might not be a better signee in this class than Brigham Rogers going to Belmont.
Isaiah Collier is the clear No. 1 player still left on the board. No, not just in Georgia but nationally too. Collier plans on committing on November 16—the final day of the signing period.
USC seems to be the favorite right now, but Cincinnati and Michigan are firmly in play for the Wheeler point guard. UCLA is also among Collier’s final four. Regardless of where he goes, one of these schools is getting a major difference-maker. We’re talking about the missing piece that makes a team a Final Four contender. Collier is elite in multiple on-court categories, but what matters most is that he’s a winner. He comes from a program and culture that instills the highest of expectations in its players, and Collier has done nothing but succeed at a high level at Wheeler.
Outside of Collier, Grovetown’s Frankquon Sherman recently decommitted from Winthrop, making him available. He’s another winner who’s coming off of a state championship and is on a team favored to go back-to-back. Sherman is No. 13 in HoopSeen’s 2023 Georgia rankings. He’s going to bring versatility from the wing spot. He plays bigger than he is because of his toughness and motor, and he can be a perimeter playmaker and shooter.
Not too far behind Sherman is Norcross guard Mier Panoam. There’s a thread connecting the players mentioned so far, and Panoam shares that bond. They have all won state championships. After winning a 7A championship with Norcross and raising his stock over the summer with the Georgia Stars, Panoam has plenty of D1 options to choose from. The hyper-athletic guard could continue to see more offers if he and the Blue Devils continue to build off of their season-opening win. Panoam eclipsed double-digit rebounds and was among the leading scorers in Norcross’ win on Saturday.
Six out of the top ten players in HoopSeen’s 2023 Georgia rankings have committed to schools outside of the south, and none of Isaiah Collier’s finalists are in the region either, so that would make seven out of ten.
Brandon Rechsteiner signing with Virginia Tech and Mari Jordan staying close to home to play at Georgia are the only player who will be staying in the general region.
It’s unique to see so many players leaving the area. Since HoopSeen started rankings in 2016, no class has had more top players go to schools outside of the south.
Usually, the ACC and SEC dominate the state in recruiting. Auburn and Florida State have especially succeeded when it comes to getting players from the Peach State, but neither landed a player from Georgia’s 2023 class. It feels weird to say that.
It’ll be interesting to see if this is an anomaly of a recruiting cycle, or if it’s a trend that continues moving forward.
A CLASS I LOVE
Georgia State has a solid class coming in, and both players are from right here in Georgia. Grovetown’s Malik Ferguson is coming in to add to the Panthers’ guard depth and Greenforest’s DK Manyiel is bringing plenty of size to the State frontcourt.
I love this class for multiple reasons.
First and foremost, I like the fit for all parties. Both of these players have won a lot of games in high school, and they’re both going to be able to defend at the college level.
The other reason I like this two-man class is that it continues to keep some of the state’s better players at home. I expected the staff to prioritize Georgia when they got hired, and this group just affirms that thinking.
THINGS TO WATCH
There are still plenty of players left on the board. From around 25 to 35 in HoopSeen’s Georgia rankings, there remain plenty of high-quality prospects uncommitted. I’ll be interested to see where those players land as we move beyond the early signing period. That range has prospects for all levels.
A guy like MJ Whitlock at Newton didn’t get to play very much over the summer because of injuries, but I’ve had him pegged as a D1 player. He can reestablish himself in the eyes of coaches with a big winter.
JaMichael Davis is another player I’m interested in. He was tucked away in north Georgia last season, but now that he’s at McEachern, he’ll have all of the spotlight in the world during his senior season. With that attention comes opportunities to impress coaches.
Tycen McDaniels at Spencer is another player to monitor. I love winners. You’ve read that plenty of times throughout this column already. McDaniels has a state championship under his belt, and he has a good opportunity to win another one with Spencer. I love him as a D1 guy.