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Crean adds another Dawg to his growing pack

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NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Kansas vs Northeastern Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It may be spring, but Tom Crean knows winter is coming, and recruiting never ends. So with an eye towards the upcoming season, and a reshaped roster on the horizon, Georgia basketball has added a veteran guard in hopes of making a run at the dance. Northeastern’s Donnell Gresham, Jr, who helped the Huskies win the Colonial regular season two years ago, and their conference tourney this past year, has decided to pursue a master’s degree in Athens. He will be eligible to play for the Dawgs next year.

Gresham hasn’t been a star, but has been a solid piece for Bill Coen’s Boston-based squad. He’s been a PG for them, averaging just under 10 pts and 5 rebounds per game on solid shooting (hits around 40% of his 3s, making ~2 per game). He has a solid assist to turnover ratio, and the size to help at multiple areas in the backcourt. His experience will be needed in a squad that is undergoing a lot of changes after a disappointing 2-16 SEC finish to their season. The nation’s top recruit has already signed on, and joining the Ant Man will be fellow top 100 recruits in wing Christian Brown (from Columbia, SC), wing Jaykwon Walton (from Montgomery, AL), and F Toumani Camara (out of Hollywood, FL).

And Crean isn’t finished either, as he’s also in pursuit of 5’8 Houston PG Sahvir Wheeler. The top 100 rated recruit is slated to announce his decision between UGA and Iowa State on May 6. Crean could also look to add an interior presence to finish off his top 10 in the country rated 2019 signing class. Plus there’s the usual pursuit of players in the upcoming 2020 class, like five star big man Walker Kessler, as well as members of the 2021 and 2022 classes all spring, summer, and until they sign really.

There will be room to add them as we’ve already seen freshman wing Jojo Toppin announce his transfer to Georgia St, sophomore PG Teshaun Hightower join former Georgia St head coach Ron Hunter at Tulane for his junior season and the coach’s first in New Orleans, and freshman G Ignas Sariunas has yet to announce where he’ll transfer to for the fall. This is in addition to graduating G Turtle Jackson, F Toe Wilridge, and big men Michael Edwards and Derek Ogbeide, as well as big man Nicolas Claxton’s potentially entering the NBA draft. Claxton has been invited to the NBA combine to get more info from teams on where he might land in June’s draft before making a final decision to go pro or return to school later this spring/summer.

In Gresham, Crean now knows he has a veteran ball handler and shot maker from the outside to join rising seniors Tyree Crump and Jordan Harris, along with Edwards and others on the perimeter. If Claxton opts to stay in the draft, that leaves Crean with three more open spots on his roster (Wheeler/other G, and a big man or two). If Claxton returns, that gives Crean an emerging, dynamic force in the front court to help lead this team, plus the two more open spots for Wheeler and perhaps another big man. Either way, this team should be much better built to run the type of style Crean wants to play with an emphasis on ball handlers and shooters (or as Hugh Durham used to prefer to call them, “makers”) on the roster.