by Michael Lozano, intern
During his official visit, Georgia coach Mark Fox sat down with E’Torrion Wilridge and shared with him game film of former Bulldogs star and SEC Player of the Year, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
“I’ll have the same opportunities Kentavious had,” Wilridge said. “The offense was centered on pick and roll, and that will give me many opportunities to score.”
At 6’7, Wilridge has the raw athleticism of a versatile forward – an ideal collegiate basketball skill set that will allow him to play both forward positions and thrive as a freshman. Wilridge said he believes the main goal for his freshmen season is to gain valuable playing time and use his unique scoring ability – attacking and playing inside out – to impact the team.
Before he sprained both his MCL and ACL during his junior season, Wilridge averaged 22 points per game while leading his Beaumont Central Jaguars to a 31-5 record and a semifinal finish in the Texas Class 4A State tournament. He saw his dreams of playing Division I basketball slowly fade as many of the programs that had been interested in him began to look elsewhere based on the uncertainty looming over his future.
The Bulldogs stuck with him.
Georgia assistant aoach Jonas Hayes played an integral role in securing a commitment from the native Texan. After his injury, Hayes stayed committed in pursuing the slashing forward and recruited him stronger than before.
“I committed to Georgia because of Coach Hayes,” he said.
Wilridge said he could not be more excited for the future of SEC basketball and to face the promising recruiting classes of many other programs in the conference for years to come. Texas A&M and LSU have top-five national recruiting classes for the 2015 season, and their success on the recruiting trail is one of the primary reasons for Wilridge’s commitment to Georgia.
He turned down Oklahoma and Middle Tennessee State to go the SEC.
“I want to play the best,” Wildridge said. “I want competition.”
Wilridge said he remembers his relationship with fellow Georgia commit Will Jackson from the Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) and believes they, along with the other members of the ’15 class, can add to an already experienced team.
Georgia will lose senior forward Marcus Thornton, who averaged 12.3 points and 7.3 rebounds, to graduation, but return experienced guards Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann. After back to back above .500 conference seasons, the Bulldogs have built a solid foundation for even more success in the coming seasons. The team’s unprecedented rise was validated during Georgia’s narrow defeat by eventual Final Four finalist, Michigan State, during the second round of the NCAA tournament.
“There were many chances Georgia had to win down the stretch,” he said.
Wilridge is headed to Athens the day after his high school graduation on June 8. He said he plans to enroll in summer school along with fellow ’15 commit, Derek Ogbeide. This will mark the beginning of a much anticipated and well-deserved basketball career at Georgia.