Spring 2016 Recruiting is filled with drama: The latest on Daniel Giddens’ recruitment.
Think the run up to National Signing Day in Football was weird and filled with drama, try silly season and Spring recruiting for Men’s Basketball. It’s complex because there are not only more student-athletes in play, but also the fact that there is another recruiting class to be signed in the Fall. There are a lot of tough decisions to be made and the matter of transfers like Daniel Giddens makes things very difficult for coaching staffs trying to sign recruits for the same position in the Fall.
Running down the situation regarding Daniel Giddens’ recruitment as of right now:
1. Visited Georgia last weekend.
The visit to Georgia was said to be positive, but it is very clear that Pape Diatta was the prioritized recruit and rightfully so. Diatta signed with Georgia and Mark Fox has no qualms with making room for Giddens. Notice the language used here, Diatta took the already vacant scholarship spot. Fox would have to make room for Giddens and that appears to have been the plan all along when it came to bringing along a graduate transfer or ordinary transfer. In the case of Avery Woodson or Rodney Pryor, Georgia would have made space for them just the way they would for Giddens. Woodson chose to attend Butler rather than join former teammate Nick King at Alabama.
2. Visited TCU this weekend.
TCU is a bit of a surprise name to be included in Giddens’ recruitment considering that the initial schools that were involved in Giddens’ recruitment were all located within the same region.
Ohio State transfer Daniel Giddens is considering Kentucky, Florida, FSU, Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi State, source told @CBSSports.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 30, 2016
What connection does Daniel Giddens have to TCU and Jamie Dixon’s staff in Fort Worth? More than three weeks ago, it was reported that former LSU Assistant Coach, ace recruiter and godfather to Ben Simmons, David Patrick, was leaving the LSU staff to join Jamie Dixon’s staff. Dixon then hired the now former Associate Head Coach at UNLV, Ryan Miller, on April 16. To say that Dixon’s first two hires are well-connected would be a massive understatement.
David Patrick was responsible for getting these guys to sign with LSU for the 2015 and 2016 Classes.
Ryan Miller is no stranger to recruiting the Southeast and more specifically the Atlanta area. If his name sounds familiar, it is because he is a former assistant under Tony Barbee at Auburn. Miller has connections in the area and could be the point-of-contact with Giddens. Miller was able to land the signatures of these student-athletes.
Interestingly, Miller and Patrick were never on staffs that were involved in Giddens’ recruitment coming out of High School. TCU offers one thing to Giddens that Georgia certainly cannot, a guaranteed starting role on the 2017-18 Team.
3. Keep an eye on Georgia Tech in this whole mess.
Giddens likely has another visit in him and a trip to the North Avenue Trade School would not be too difficult. Pastner can make a big splash in local recruiting circles by getting Giddens to transfer to Georgia Tech. Giddens’ path to a starting role is much easier as he would only have to compete with Ben Lammers, Sylvester Ogbonda, A.D. Gueye and possibly Romello White.
Josh Pastner already has his hands full trying to hold onto Romello White, a signee for the 2016 Class.
Georgia Tech signee Romello White tells us he will ask for release from Jackets & open recruitment. pic.twitter.com/9D4sHPsmVf
— HoopSeen (@hoopseen) April 23, 2016
— Kelly Quinlan (@Kelly_Quinlan) April 23, 2016
One would assume that Romello White was re-opening his recruitment based on this news. Not so fast.
Romello White’s mother told ESPN that her son remains committed to Georgia Tech and new coach Josh Pastner.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 23, 2016
This report from Jeff Goodman contradicts the prior reports and one would assume that possibly bad information was passed along. Then this comes along nearly eight hours after Goodman’s tweet from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Signee Romello White undecided on staying with Georgia Tech https://t.co/dSfT1SuHUV
— AJC (@ajc) April 24, 2016
Romello White is the same recruit that committed to Tennessee while then Tennessee Head Coach Donnie Tyndall was under investigation by the NCAA. There were articles concerning Tennessee’s possible termination options in December 2014. White made a very early commitment to a program that was ready to break relations with their Head Coach and then followed it up by signing with a school with a Head Coach that was a lame duck (Georgia Tech). It is one thing for Romello White to choose a school over a coach, but White chose not to attend a school because of a coach once before. Program stability does not appear to be a quality that he values.
There are also rampant rumors about Romello White’s grades and whether he will be able to attend and compete in the Fall. If White does get out of his Letter of Intent, he is not going to be able to immediately play for an ACC institution. Josh Pastner will also likely bar him from transferring to Georgia.
4. Jakeenan Gant may make things complicated too.
Remember Jakeenan Gant? Yes, that Jakeenan Gant, the Missouri student-athlete that moved from Springfield, Georgia to Osage, Missouri. It was rather out of the blue and Gant was strongly considering Georgia before he made the move. Gant was also busted for possession of drug paraphenalia in February with his fellow teammate Russell Woods.
Former ECHS hoops star Jakeenan Gant to transfer from Missouri, according to Kansas City Star. https://t.co/vUeA2y39pG
— Effingham Herald (@EffinghamHerald) April 23, 2016
Gant is looking to move closer to home to be with his ailing mother. Do not get too excited because the hardship waiver is a thing of the past, which means he will have to sit out a season before he sees any playing time. He will have two seasons left of eligibility starting in the 2017-18 season. If being closer to home means attending a school in the State of Georgia, he has his options. Do not expect miracles with Gant, he has underachieved thus far. He only managed to crack the starting lineup in four games last season for a very dismal Missouri team, averaging 15.6 minutes per game.
Just when it seems the 2016 signing period is over, it keeps bringing everyone back for more.
5. What about 2017? Is it worth pursuing Giddens knowing what could possibly be in store this Fall?
Daniel Giddens would have to sit out and occupy a scholarship space next season and then he has an additional three seasons of eligibility should he wish to use them. Georgia has made headway with the 2017 Class in the frontcourt with Nic Claxton, Garrison Brooks and Ikey Obiagu. Georgia should have either three or four scholarship spaces available for the Class of 2017 and the addition of Giddens takes away a spot from somebody in the Class of 2017.
Giddens is gifted at blocking shots, but is offensively limited. He lacks versatility and had a marginally better season than Mike Edwards. Edwards is versatile, needs to add strength and is going through the same sort of development process that Yante Maten went through. Does Giddens really fit what UGA wants to do OR is the hope that the development process makes up for it?
When examining the possibility of Daniel Giddens attending UGA, it is not the matter of how the space is going to be filled in the 2016-17 Season, but rather how secure Mark Fox and his staff feel about the Class of 2017. There is a lot of optimism for this upcoming class as coaches and recruits have been very impressed.
As for now, the drama lingers through this National Signing Period.