Jermontae Hill could be superior walk-on for Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech guard/forward Jermontae Hill, who has joined the Yellow Jackets' 2021-22 roster as a freshman walk-on. (Photo courtesy of Steven Bouye)
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Georgia Tech guard/forward Jermontae Hill, who has joined the Yellow Jackets' 2021-22 roster as a freshman walk-on. (Photo courtesy of Steven Bouye)

Credit: Photo courtesy of Steven Bouye

Credit: Photo courtesy of Steven Bouye

Jermontae Hill has made an unusual decision to be on Georgia Tech’s basketball roster. The Tucker High grad, one of the top players in the state as a senior in 2020, had scholarship offers from another ACC team and multiple mid-major schools at his post-grad academy, but turned them down to be a walk-on with coach Josh Pastner’s team.

“I think he’s got a lot of upside,” Pastner told the AJC. “I’m excited about Jermontae. Really, really excited about Jermontae.”

Hill attracted significant recruiting attention coming out of high school at Tucker, including from Pastner’s staff. The 6-foot-6 guard/forward reported offers from Florida, Georgetown, Mississippi State, Xavier and Vanderbilt, among others. He was planning to play at St. John’s, but the coaching staff “went in a different direction at the last minute,” said Hill’s AAU coach, Steven Bouye.

That led him to enroll for a post-grad year at DME Academy in Daytona Beach, Fla. There, he continued to attract scholarship offers, including from Boston College. He turned them all down.

“He wanted to be at home; he wanted to play in the ACC,” Bouye said.

A most significant part of his decision to attend Tech was Deivon Smith’s decision to transfer to Tech from Mississippi State. The two are close friends.

“People wonder, why did he walk on?” Bouye said. “I’m a witness. He turned down about five or six schools. To be honest, I was kind of upset, but you’ve got to let a kid be happy. I was like, man, he can play in the ACC at Boston College.”

Hill, who was a solid student at Tucker, is expected to receive aid from the HOPE scholarship, but that will not cover all of his expenses. It would not be a surprise if he were to earn an athletic scholarship later on, given the potential he demonstrated as a three-star prospect at Tucker and with Bouye’s successful AAU team, A.J. Bouye Elite.

“I think he’s going to be good down the road,” Pastner said.

Bouye, who has coached Hill since he was in seventh grade, has grander expectations.

“Real athletic kid,” he said. “The kid can be a pro if he puts his mind to it. He’s 6-7, can handle the rock, jump. He can score. He needs to work on his 3. He’s a gym rat.”

Hill is part of an impressive group of arrivals at Tech, including Smith and freshman guards Dallan “Deebo” Coleman, Miles Kelly and Jalon Moore.

“I’m not worried it’ll work,” Bouye said. “The kid’s going to work hard to play.”