You got hyped up about a 4 Star Recruit (Amanze Ngumezi) committing to Georgia.
Look, the star rating is what gets fans excited, but it says absolutely nothing. Amanze Ngumezi is not just a rating, ranking, height, weight and position. In fact, everything presented in these cursory figures is wrong. This is the problem when you have Football analysts and a system of evaluation and presentation created for Football being used for Basketball. There’s no context and there’s deception.
So let’s tell the truth here about Amanze Ngumezi. Here’s what they tell you about Ngumezi and then we’ll juxtapose it with the facts. The facts are actually more impressive.
What the media’s cursory narrative that fans will take away: 4 Star 6’9″ 235 pound Power Forward ranked in the Top 150 in the country from the State of Georgia commits to Georgia.
That’s enough for the targeted crowd to grab the lotion.
Here’s 247 Sports take on this commitment. What has anyone learned from this? Next to nothing. It boils him down to an arbitrary rating. He’s a big commitment because he has an arbitrary number next to him. Sound ridiculous? Of course it does.
That’s it. All you need to know there and then when they come to campus, you know nothing about what he actually brings to the table. Then fans will hear dribs and drabs of hype, complain about minutes and have zero idea of why he is being used the way he is being used. This happens way too often and this publication has been the only one to actually explain what the commits bring to the table. Sure, it’s not as flashy or simplistic (because the media thinks you’re dumb and we think you’re better than that) as what you are typically presented, but at least you know what to expect. Managing expectations is important and for a university with one of the best Journalism schools in the country, there is a complete inability for media and those within UGA Athletics to set them properly and not insult their base.
So here are the facts about Amanze Ngumezi.
- He’s 6’9″ 235 pounds now, but he was 6’7″ 185 pounds a year ago.
- He played like a Small Forward in High School. His stats bear it out.
- He’s not a Power Forward at all, he’s just learning to play with greater physicality now.
- His stock jumped based on his performance in AAU action with 1Family on the Adidas circuit.
- There were two periods when Ngumezi was getting offers: Late April and Late July.
- He was getting a lot more mid-major attention in April after Adidas Uprising. When Clemson and Wichita State jumped in, it was a sign of things to come and in late July he was getting a deluge of offers from major programs.
Ngumezi went from being a not-so-physical Small Forward to a Stretch Four more comfortable with taking mid-range and long-range jump shots to starting to embrace the idea of attacking the basket and getting more physical.
Think this is a stretch? It’s not. Ngumezi is a fascinating case of how a recruit can radically change in months. He’s in a sense being reinvented, but Jonas Hayes will ensure that he maintains his versatility while learning to become more physical. Hayes can point to Yante Maten and say that he can be like Maten if he is versatile, physical, disciplined and committed to the process. Maten was a late bloomer who got attention toward the end of his High School run.
Ngumezi played like a perimeter player in High School. The metrics are a bit sloppy from MaxPreps, but it gives an idea that he was averse to contact and fighting for rebounds. He’s not Tim Dixon, he’s just figuring out a role for himself and his physical development has altered his course a bit.
Adidas Uprising provided Ngumezi with an opportunity to face better competition than in High School and he made good use of the opportunity.
Why would he get streams of offers from this performance in April when he went under-the-radar as a Small Forward prior?
- He’s much stronger.
- He’s averaging more rebounds per game against better competition.
- He showed some level of defensive fortitude.
- He went 8/13 from 3 point range during a three game stretch.
- All things considered, he showed he had a lot of upside if he was with the right coaching staff.
Who is one of the best developers of talent in the frontcourt? Jonas Hayes. It made sense for Ngumezi to choose UGA from a Basketball perspective. If academics are important and based on his commitment note they are, then he has the right Head Coach in Mark Fox, who is one of the few coaches in College Athletics who encourages his student-athletes to pursue whatever they want. It’s probably his most redeeming trait as a coach.
The versatility pitch continues in Athens and Mark Fox will have to seriously consider making changes to his scheme to fit the talent he is recruiting. He’s specifically looking for particular qualities and then not actually taking advantage of them.
Ngumezi knows he’s a late bloomer too as he recognizes his need to get better and drive his team toward a State Championship. He will be taking a new, more physical approach going into the coming season.
Just because I’m committed doesn’t mean I’m not finna come with the same energy for the season still nothing less then a state title!
— Amanze Ngumezi (@kiingsliimm) September 3, 2017
What Fox and his staff are getting in Ngumezi:
- He’s a project within 8 feet of the basket.
- A strong perimeter shooter.
- A strong ball handler for his size.
- A physically strong player.
- An average at best Free Throw Shooter.
- A skilled Basketball player making a transition from being a Small Forward to being a Combo Forward.
He is similar to former Georgia recruit Mfiondu Kabengele and former Georgia signee Cady Lalanne. He may draw comparisons to Yante Maten, but Maten was far more developed in the interior while Ngumezi seems to be the opposite. Ngumezi will toughen up from practicing against Derek Ogbeide and Isaac Kante, he’ll have no choice.
What does this mean for Georgia in 2018 recruiting?
Georgia has two more slots remaining in this class and it is going to likely be an All-Georgia Class. 2019 is expected to possibly be very different, but then again recruiting has ebbs and flows. Locks get passed up and new recruits emerge.
Georgia will have five frontcourt guys predisposed to playing in the post, but then again Wilridge and Hammonds both are able to play the High Post. The backcourt is the sore spot and it is a complete reversal of the way things were during the Mark Fox era prior to Jonas Hayes joining the staff. Now, the backcourt is the obvious weakness of Georgia Basketball as no one has emerged and it has not been as easy to land backcourt recruits as it had been during the first five or six years of the Fox era.
Will Richardson’s decision to transfer out of Liberty County High School to Oak Hill Academy will better prepare him for College Basketball and also improve his stock to various programs and even the NBA. It’s a serious move for him and it may open up brand new doors that were previously not considered when he was playing in greater obscurity. Richardson is not a strong shooter at all, but he has a lot of the intangibles programs are looking for in a Combo Guard. He will not be able to dominate at Oak Hill Academy and that is the point, he is going to face better competition and that will make him ready to play from the outset. There is always a longer learning curve with talent from South Georgia because of the step up in talent from High School to College, AAU is not enough to make up for a weaker High School schedule.
Does the South Georgia connection between Savannah’s Amanze Ngumezi and Hinesville’s Will Richardson hold up? Does Richard LeCounte’s relationship with Richardson deliver a commitment? Or maybe the greater exposure and opportunity to improve at Oak Hill Academy give Richardson a forum to showcase his wares to the Blue Bloods?
Right now it is a Georgia, Alabama and Georgia Tech regional competition. Will it change?
Georgia needs two more guards and one of them has to be a sharpshooter, they will not get that in Richardson. However, Landers Nolley could fit the bill rather nicely and would be the best perimeter shooter Mark Fox has ever brought in, if he commits of course. Nolley will make an Official Visit this Fall and was just in Urbana-Champaign this weekend. Nolley is originally from Chicago and he moved to Fairburn, Georgia in the Summer of 2016. Will the appeal of playing in his home state for an exciting offensive coach, Brad Underwood, result in his commitment?
Still too soon to say, but he had a reportedly very good Official Visit to Illinois.