Georgia landed its third prospect for the 2017 class on Monday in guard Teshaun Hightower, who looks to make a quick impact on the program.
Hightower is a product of Mt. Zion Prep School in Baltimore, but was formerly an attendee of Collins Hill in Gwinnett County. Thus, being a Georgia native was used as a tactic to lure Hightower away from La Salle and Western Kentucky, his other two major contenders.
"It was a good fit and feel at Georgia," Hightower said. "I love the coaching staff and I see myself playing for them."
In addition to Hightower’s pledge, Georgia inked forwards Nicolas Claxton and Rayshaun Hammonds during the early signing period, with Hammonds ranking in the top-50 players nationally according to the 247Sports’ composite.
Georgia’s roster will take a hit with the departure of three seniors on scholarship, especially All-SEC point guard J.J. Frazier. But the culmination of Georgia’s last two recruiting classes, it’s soon to be a brief rebuild of young, highly-regarded prospects for head coach Mark Fox and company. Hightower has high hopes for the program as a result of the incoming wave of talent.
"I’m happy to be a part of the Bulldog family," Hightower said. "With the guys that coach has brought in, along with myself, I think we will be able to compete for a national championship."
According to the Rivals.com rankings, Hightower is rated as a three-star prospect and is not ranked nationally. But that could be due to changing positions during his prep career and becoming a late-bloomer. Early in his high school days, Hightower stood at 6-foot and played at the two-guard position. He then underwent a growth spurt and is now a point guard at 6-foot-5.
With Frazier departing, Hightower could slide behind Turtle Jackson and allow Jordan Harris and Tyree Crump to compete for minutes at the two-guard position. The Bulldogs will also welcome another guard to the competition in 2017 as Christian Harrison will become eligible after sitting out this season as an undergraduate transfer from Troy.
Hightower’s height draws a comparison to former Georgia guard Charles Mann, and brings a variety of skill sets to Fox’s roster.
The move from a public high school to a preparatory school is seen by numerous athletes, especially in basketball with establishments such as Oak Hill and Montverde academies. Hightower decided to make the move and was pleased with the results.
"Mt. Zion was a great place to be and the coaches taught me how to be a point guard," Hightower said. "I was shown things that I didn’t know before and I was given the chance to be a lead guard and run the team. It helped a lot, and I’m going to play hard and see everything take care of itself."
One of Hightower’s teammates, Tyler Scott, also followed a similar path to Mt. Zion. In the early stages of his high school, the 6-foot-10 frontcourt player jumped around from Buford and Gainesville and then ended up in Baltimore.
Scott assessed Hightower’s skill set since he plays alongside the new Georgia pledge.
"He’s a great leader and a big guard that can get to the cup with ease," Scott said. "He can hit the 3-pointer, whether it be open or contested. The move to prep school has helped us both in all sorts of ways. It’s a great opportunity to knock out dents in certain areas of your game."