Arguably, no one in America is building a roster faster than Tom Crean is at the moment. Just a few days ago, graduate transfer point-guard Donnell Gresham, Jr. pledged his commitment to the Red and Black at a position that has, frankly, been inconsistent over the last few seasons. Crean received more good news as highly coveted 4-star point guard Sahvir Wheeler announced his intentions to attend the University of Georgia over Iowa State earlier this afternoon.
What are we getting in Wheeler, the nation’s 92nd overall prospect and 6th rated point guard nationally according to 247Sports.com? A kid who can handle the ball with a low turnover (!) rate and is adept at defending as well. And if you blink, a defender will be singing “Blue Bayou” because Wheeler just blew by you. He can score.
Wheeler is a bit on the smallish size, but that can have its advantages. (See: Frazier, J.J.)
He’s very poised in his role as a true ball-handler and will not turn the rock over often. The single biggest flaw in Georgia’s game last year was an incredibly high turnover rate, ranking near the bottom in the entire nation. Wheeler protects the rock, and is a tenacious defender for his 5’ 8”, 175 lb. frame and will be called upon to create opportunities on offense, which bodes extremely well in how Crean plans on the continuation of his up-tempo style and getting more offensive production. He’s an assist machine and the paring of Wheeler with scoring guard Anthony “Ant Man” Edwards will surely raise the bar and put some butts in some Stegeman Coliseum seats in a few months.
As it stands right now, Georgia has the 7th ranked class with Edwards, a five star and perhaps the #1 overall player in the nation when all the recruiting dust settles on 2019. Joining Wheeler in the Classic City will be a trio of 4-star forwards - Christian Brown, Jaykwon Walton and Toumani Camara. All have signed their letters of intent.
Crean has a fascinating mix of veteran players, including the grad-transfer Gresham who has played a lot of hoops in his career, and some very, very good incoming freshman. If Nicolas Claxton - who has declared for the NBA draft and is awaiting some feedback - decides to come back for one more season, this team looks like it will make some serious noise in the SEC and beyond. If Claxton does leave, I still think this very young team is talented enough to be special.
I cannot remember a more impressive influx of talent since...stay with me...1979, when Hugh Durham, in his 2nd season (like Crean) in Athens, signed Dominique Wilkins, Terry Fair, Lamar Heard and Derrick Floyd. Despite ‘Nique’s early exit to the Atlanta Hawks for the ‘82-’83 season, the nucleus of that team went to the 1983 Final Four. Those were exciting times.
These are exciting times, and it has been a long time coming. Get your tickets now, folks. What goes on Between the Hedges in a few months ain’t gonna be the only show in town.