On Monday, Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner commented briefly about a recruiting miss in the 2018 recruiting class.
It’s not all the time that college coaches talk about recruiting misses. On Monday, Josh Pastner briefly commented about the recruitment of Pittsburgh guard Xavier Johnson during his weekly call-in show.
Johnson, a freshman at Pittsburgh has been a superb for the Panthers this season. Through 26 games this season, Johnson is averaging 16.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game. A tremendous line for a true freshman in the ACC. In conference play, Johnson has been playing just as well, averaging a line of 17.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game.
Both Johnson’s points per game and assists per game averages would be leading the Yellow Jackets this season. Currently, the team leader in both categories is sophomore Jose Alvarado who’s offering 11.6 points and 3.2 assists.
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Alvarado is coming off one of his better games of late against Florida State, scoring 17 points. Prior to his game against the Seminoles, Alvarado scored less than double-digit points in six consecutive games. The worst stretch of his career. Now, back to the recruitment of Xavier Johnson.
Coming out of Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia, Johnson wasn’t an extremely highly rated recruit but was still a top-250 player in the nation. A three-star prospect, Johnson garnered 13 offers through his recruitment and at one time was committed to Nebraska. That being said, according to Pastner, Johnson at one time was interested in committing to Georgia Tech.
However, the Yellow Jackets rejected the commitment from Johnson. The reasoning behind the rejection? Josh Pastner at the time didn’t think that Josh Okogie would be leaving for the NBA at the end of the season. As everyone knows, Okogie would leave for the NBA Draft, and by the time he made his decision, Johnson was already signed to play with Pittsburgh.
That being said, it’s hard to not criticize Pastner for the decision to reject Johnson. The Jackets who haven’t been dynamite on the recruiting trail needed and still need to build ACC quality talent and Johnson was that even before his breakout season. Even Josh Okogie returned, having Johnson would be a quality asset for the Jackets to have on the roster. That being said, entering the season Josh Okogie was an NBA Draft prospect. Yes, his stock rose throughout the season but the chance for Okogie to leave at the end of the season was always there especially if he improved on his freshman campaign, which he did.
For Pastner, coming out about such a recruiting miss is not a good look. Already under pressure for his program to perform better, admitting you missed on one of the best freshmen in the ACC because you didn’t think your best player would leave for the NBA is simply a bad look. Add in the additional idea that 2019 commitment David Didenko not even starting for his JUCO program, Palm Beach State, things are going to get interesting for Pastner going forward.
Yes, he’s a good recruiter and he’s put the Yellow Jackets in position to land several notable recruits. Yes, he’s in year three of a seven-year contract, that being said, if the Yellow Jackets keep taking steps back as a program, Todd Stansbury is going to answer some questions about the program.
What do you think about the recruiting miss of Xavier Johnson? Do you blame Pastner for the decision?