Georgia State signs two state champions, including a 7-footer

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

The priority for Georgia State’s basketball recruiting became evident Thursday when the Panthers signed a pair of in-state prospects who led their teams to a state championship last season.

Georgia State signed 7-foot-1 D.K. Manyiel, who helped Greenforest Academy in Decatur win the Class A Private championship and 6-foot-4 guard Malik Ferguson, who guided Grovetown to the Class 6A championship.

Their addition reinforces earlier statements from coach Jonas Hayes about putting arms around players from Georgia and encouraging them to stay home.

“Why should you have to leave the state of Georgia to get a winning brand of basketball somewhere else when you can get it at home?” Hayes said. “If a kid at a certain level sees the value of staying close to home, playing a great brand of basketball with a coaching staff that you won’t find anywhere else, that’s committed to their total success, you can find that at Georgia State.”

The spindly, long-limbed Manyiel averaged 6.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.7 blocked shots as a junior. He also shot 50% on 3-point shots.

“What we’re getting in D.K. is an extremely athletic, skilled 7-footer who can do a little bit of everything,” Hayes said. “D.K. brings a level of tenacity, togetherness, attention to detail and work ethic that I think this program, moving forward, is going to be built on.”

Ferguson averaged 12.9 points for the balanced Warriors team that won its final 18 games and claimed the suburban Augusta school’s first state championship.

“Malik Ferguson is tough as old nails,” Hayes said. “His style of play fits how we want to play, and the level of intensity that he has shown at Grovetown is going to translate well to our level.”