Georgia Tech likely recalculating plans for final basketball scholarship

Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner (right). (AP Photo/Danny Karnik)

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Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner (right). (AP Photo/Danny Karnik)

Georgia Tech’s plans for its 13th and final scholarship likely have been altered, and may change again soon.

The decision by Wake Forest center Olivier Sarr to enter the transfer portal, as well as the impending cutdown of Gardner-Webb guard Jose Perez of five finalists for his transfer destination figure to shape coach Josh Pastner’s recruitment strategy.

Perez, who averaged 15.1 points per game in his first two seasons at Gardner-Webb, included Tech among his top 10 schools last Sunday. He is expected to cut his list to five soon, possibly on Sunday. Regardless of whether Tech continues as a possibility, Pastner will undoubtedly make a bid for Sarr, who will probably be the most highly recruited transfer candidate of this offseason.

Sarr, a rising senior, averaged 13.7 points and nine rebounds per game this past season to earn third-team All-ACC honors. News of his decision to put his name in the transfer database broke Friday. Tech recruited Sarr out of high school – he is from France – and it’s possible that Sarr’s familiarity with Pastner will be an asset for the Jackets.

Sarr would very much help Tech, which could use an experienced center with James Banks’ eligibility complete. With a strong returning core, the Jackets have hopes of returning to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010. However, the Yellow Jackets’ only returning post player is forward Moses Wright.

Sarr would be especially impactful given the likelihood that the proposed legislation to grant all Division I athletes the ability to transfer one time without sitting out for one year is not expected to pass. Thursday, the Division I board of directors recommended that the change, to be voted on May 20 by the Division I Council, was “not appropriate at this time.” Center Rodney Howard will transfer to Tech from Georgia, but it would appear that he’ll now have to sit out a year before being able to play for the Jackets.

Sarr, who is leaving Wake Forest after the firing of coach Danny Manning, would be a candidate to receive a hardship waiver for immediate eligibility. (Tech guard Kyle Sturdivant, transferring from USC, has a strong case to receive a waiver, as the Norcross High grad is returning home due to a family tragedy.)

Tech will enroll two post players as freshmen -- Saba Gigiberia from the nation of Georgia and Jordan Meka from Mt. Bethel Christian Academy.

Pastner, though, will likely be competing for Sarr with a slew of power-conference schools in need of a center, and it’s possible Sarr may want to make a clean break and leave the ACC. Also, Sarr told ESPN that he was open to meeting with new coach Steve Forbes and staying at Wake Forest.

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