Georgia Tech has the fourth member of its 2017 recruiting class. South Forsyth High power forward Evan Cole gave his commitment to coach Josh Pastner Tuesday. Cole, a versatile 6-foot-8 player, could be a frontcourt option to help replace the graduating Quinton Stephens.
Tech began its pursuit of Cole after he was released from his letter of intent with UNC-Wilmington in early April when its coach, Kevin Keatts, left for N.C. State. Cole chose Tech over Vanderbilt, N.C. State and Clemson.
“Just being the top tier on the academic side and playing in the best conference in America in the ACC and being close to home in a good part of Atlanta,” said Cole, citing his reasons for picking Tech. “I just thought it had it all.”
Cole joins point guard Jose Alvarado (New York), shooting guard Curtis Haywood (Yukon, Okla.) and forward Moses Wright (Raleigh, N.C.). With Cole, coach Josh Pastner now has 10 players on scholarship for the 2017-18 season and three available spots. Cole said that Tech coaches told him that they believe he can compete for playing time right away. He is rated a three-star prospect by 247 Sports and the No. 26 player in the state of Georgia.
What began as a disappointment — the coach he signed with leaving his school — has turned out quite well for Cole. He is the beneficiary of the recruiting market that heats up in the spring as coaches try to fill out their rosters and try to replace players who have transferred or left for the NBA, but have a limited pool of prospects.
“I knew a couple high majors were interested, but I didn’t know if I’d have this many high-major opportunities,” he said.
Cole visited Tech on April 20, a Thursday, and returned the following Monday, a trip that he said sealed the deal.
“Just got to spend more time with the coaches and players, got to know them a little better,” he said. “Just good quality time. I just thought it’d be a good place for me.”
Cole said he reached his decision Monday, he said, and informed Pastner of his decision Tuesday by phone. He wasn’t sure how he would celebrate Tuesday night.
“That’s a good question,” he said. “I don’t know. Maybe order some pizza.”