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Stephens, Ajukwa Headed To ACC Programs

Tuesday, September 18, 2012 10:58am

N.C. State took possession of the recruiting news cycle during the weekend when All-American point guard Anthony Barber announced for the Wolfpack, but two other ACC schools made 2013 additions as well.

Georgia Tech didn’t have to look far to land Quinton Stephens. The 6-7 wing forward at Atlanta (GA) Marist chose the Yellow Jackets over offers from Auburn, Clemson (he visited officially on Sept. 8), Miami, Tennessee and others.

Stephens doesn’t possess a national reputation and did not compete on the Nike travel circuit — one emerging trendline in grassroots basketball is the extent to which Nike’s EYBL dominates visibility among scouts and general hoops media — and thus did not receive the exposure that may have enabled him to land in the national rankings.

He averaged 19 points per game as a junior and, as he gets stronger (he weighs just 190 pounds), should become a rotational contributor for Tech. He clearly doesn’t boast the credentials of his fellow member of Georgia Tech's 2013 recruiting class, point guard Solomon Poole, but Brian Gregory must land in-state prospects and particularly those from the Atlanta metro area. Stephens is a good jump shooter who will complement Poole’s athleticism-based game.

Although the Tigers lost out on Stephens, they picked up a commitment from Austin Ajukwa during an unofficial visit. A 6-5 swingman at Columbia (SC) Cardinal Newman, Ajukwa chose Clemson over hometown South Carolina — clearly a significant morale boost for Brad Brownell's program.

Ajukwa largely is anonymous to scouts. He reportedly had received offers from Boston College, East Carolina, Appalachian State and Charleston Southern, and thus his recruitment occurred at the fringe mid/high-major level. He cited the ACC’s revamped stature as a primary reason for his commitment:

“It’s the best conference in college basketball,” he told GreenvilleOnline. “That’s where I want to be. I want to be playing at a high level like that. It would help me reach my goals.”

The Tigers also hold a commitment from 2013 wing guard Patrick Rooks and remain a contender for big-time, in-state native — and now prepping at Oak Hill Academy — forward Sindarius Thornwell.