ATLANTA -- Amid the hoopla of a big football game on campus, Georgia Tech's basketball program also got some welcome news earlier Thursday, courtesy of one of the nation's top recruits, who is about to begin his senior season at one of Gwinnett County's high school programs.
Robert Carter, a consensus top-30 pick by the major recruiting services, announced that he had signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at Tech beginning next season at a news conference at a local restaurant.
The 6-foot-8, 245-pound power forward, who will play at Shiloh this season after transferring from Thomasville High School in South Georgia, picked the Yellow Jackets over dozens of scholarship offers, including his finalists, which included in-state rival Georgia and Florida.
"I'm just glad it's over," said Carter, who also considered Florida State and Kentucky. "It's been long proceess, but I felt (Georgia Tech) was the best decision for me.
"The coaching staff, the family atmosphere, being able to come in to that's already been on the map (were among the deciding factors for Tech)."
Carter added that his friendship with Tech's two other signees -- North Gwinnett's Chris Bolden and North Clayton's Marcus Hunt, both of whom faxed their national letters of intent a day earlier -- also played a role in his decision.
He attended Tech's big football win over Clemson with the pair Oct. 29, and he said the two were persistent in wanting him to join them at Tech throughout the process.
"Out of all the (people and) schools recruiting me, they might've been the most annoying," Carter joked. "But those are my boys. They told me, 'You need to come on (to Tech).'"
The addition of Carter to the signings of Bolden and Hunt give Brian Gregory an outstanding first recruiting class before the Jackets begin his first season as head coach.
"Obviously, there's great excitement, " Gregory said of Carter's signing. "(Wednesday) was a tremendous day for our program with Chris and Marcus signing. It's a long time, when guys commit to you early like those guys did, you wait and wait. And then (Thursday) with the signing of Robert, it just puts us in position where our goals and objectives in this recruiting class at this particular point, we've been able to meet."
Carter has been on the map ever since his sophomore season at Thomasville, when he led the Bulldogs to a Class AA state-runner up finish, including a 20-point, 11-rebound performance in a loss to GAC in the championship game -- the first of two straight titles for the Spartans.
And he has only gotten better, culminating with a junior season in which he averaged 20.3 points, 14.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots per game.
He will bring that low post presence to Shiloh this season, and is looking forward to suiting up with the Generals, beginning with their first scrimmage tonight against Luella.
"I feel really good," Carter said. "I think we work really hard. I don't think there's one (dominant) team out there ... right now. I think we have a great chance to win a state championship. ... We're really going to get after it hard."