Sorry for the delay in posting... Internet stopped working in Atlanta, had to wait until I got home...
As one of the country's top recruits, Derrick Favors could have wowed fans almost anywhere, but when it came down to deciding where he would play his college ball, his priority was making sure his family and friends could watch him play.
At the ESPN Zone in Buckhead on Wednesday, the Atlanta native announced he would be heading to Georgia Tech next season, thrilling a crowd of Yellow Jackets supporters eagerly awaiting his decision.
"I've been thinking it through really hard since the beginning of the season, but I think I made the right decision," said Favors, a day after racking up a triple-double while leading his South Atlanta High team to a win over Eagles Landing. "It was close to home and I wanted all my friends and family to come and see. I liked the staff and team. The team is cool. The coach, Paul Hewitt, he's real down to earth."
Favors, who is rated the No. 1 basketball recruit in the state and No. 2 nationally by ESPN, said his final decision came down to Georgia Tech, Georgia and North Carolina State. In the end, he said, the chance to play close to home for a program with a history of success tipped the scales in Tech's favor.
"Just the history, how many guys Georgia Tech put in the NBA and how many guys Georgia put in the NBA," Favors said.
The 6-foot-9 power forward did say that Georgia was his second choice, and he got a strong sales pitch from current Bulldogs freshman and close friend, Trey Thompkins.
"He was trying to push me to Georgia," Favors said of Thompkins. "He said he needed me down there with him so we could roll UGA into the NCAA."
Favors said playing in the ACC was a factor in his decision, but the future of Georgia head coach Dennis Felton was not.
Felton's job seemed in jeopardy a year ago before the Bulldogs won the SEC tournament in surprising fashion, and through Wednesday, Georgia had the conference's worst record this season.
"That didn't play in," Favors said. "I knew Coach Felton was a great guy, I knew all the players were good. But my heart was at Georgia Tech."
While Felton's status didn't hurt Georgia's chances, he said, Hewitt's role at Tech was a determining factor.
"He can get the best out of his players," Favors said. "He's a hard-working coach, and I think he can help me develop my game for the NBA."
The lure of the NBA might make Favors' career at Tech a brief one.
Favors said he was glad to make his college decision now rather than wait until after his season at South Atlanta, but he wasn't ready to determine where his future might take him after that.
"I'll have to wait until I get there," he said, "work as hard as I can for that one year and just see what happens then."
UPDATE: Norcross native Jodie Meeks scored 54 points to set a Kentucky record last night. Derrick Favors chooses Tech over UGA tonight. Georgia follows that up by scoring a robust 40 points at Vandy for its fourth straight loss. Could this be the worst 24-hour stretch of the Dennis Felton era? Or was it almost expected at this point?