On Jan. 14, 2009, Georgia Tech men’s basketball fans had an up and down day.
The Yellow Jackets lost, 70-56, to No. 3 Duke at home that evening, dropping to 9-7 on the season. But shortly before tip, a great hope for the future arrived: the commitment of Derrick Favors.
Favors was the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2009, according to 247Sports Composite rankings, rating higher than John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and other future NBA talents. The South Atlanta High School product spurned Georgia and North Carolina State in favor of remaining in his hometown.
“The suspense ended on national television when the nation’s No. 1 high school basketball player, Derrick Favors, picked a hat emblazoned with ‘GT’ out of a bag, proudly put it on his head and announced to the world that he will attend Georgia Tech University next fall.
“The 6-foot-9, 234-pound South Atlanta senior made the announcement earlier today on ESPNU, leaving Georgia and North Carolina State as his only other serious choices.
“South Atlanta coach Michael Reddick estimated that his young superstar had solid offers from close to 40 of the top 50 college basketball programs across the nation.” – Dave Krider, MaxPreps.com
“The Most Valuable Player at the McDonald’s All-American Game and the National Player of the Year on Parade Magazine’s All-America Team, Favors is ranked No. 1 in the nation by Scout.com, No. 2 in the ESPNU100 and No. 4 by Rivals.com. He also was named the Naismith National High School Player of the Year.
“‘My staff and I are very pleased to have Derrick Favors join the Georgia Tech family,’ said Tech head coach Paul Hewitt, whose Tech recruiting class is generally regarded as one of the nation’s best and includes three other players ranked among the top 100 prospects in the United States. ‘We’re especially thankful to his Mom, D’Andra, and his coaches for helping him make the decision to attend Georgia Tech. We look forward to working with him and helping him and the other four members of our freshman class have a productive experience here at Georgia Tech.'” – RamblinWreck.com
“Only a handful of people close to Favors knew in advance about his decision. Not even Tech coach Paul Hewitt, who attended Favors’ game the previous night, knew of his choice. ‘I think, deep down, he knew I was going to come,’ Favors said.” – Krider
“Favors has long been regarded as one of the top prizes in the country with his excellent blend of size, athleticism and power. He certainly has the potential to become a dominating interior force at the high major level. Favors has shown flashes of greatness time and time again, and he now he’ll (sic) become major player for the Yellow Jackets.
“Favors narrowed his decision down to Georgia Tech, Georgia, and North Carolina State before announcing his decision to signing with the Yellow Jackets. This is another major grab on the recruiting trail for Coach Hewitt who continues building Georgia Tech back into a national power by keeping big-time in-state prospects at home.” – Antonio Curro, SLAM
“I like the style they play, it’s close to home and I wanted my family and friends to be able to come see me play. I thought about it long and hard.” – Derrick Favors
“It’s a good decision. They have done well with talented players. It’s close and I know I can come down and watch him. Once he gets on campus and starts training, he’ll fit right in with those guys. They’ll be able to allow him to operate more inside.” – Favors’s high school coach Michael Reddick
“Yesterday evening, right before the Duke tip-off, the gem of Paul Hewitt’s recruiting history committed to play basketball at Georgia Tech. The addition of Derrick Favors to an already pretty solid recruiting class simply raises the potential of next year and increases the imagination of the Georgia Tech fan of the success we could have. Imagine the possibilities!
“If potential were a penny, we’d be millionaires at Georgia Tech. Hopefully, this will restore faith back into Georgia Tech basketball and Paul Hewitt. God knows, Hewitt needs as much support as he can get. Favors will likely only be here for one year, but he has a chance to give a now mediocre program a glimpse of its past and what its future could be. Another positive that comes from this … the Favors commitment can keep Iman Shumpert and Gani Lawal from getting frustrated and leaving early for the NBA. The combination of those 3 on the court can be mind-boggling. And those thoughts and hopes are worth enough for now.” – Winfield Featherston, From The Rumble Seat