ATLANTA – Michael Southall, a 6-10 center from West Salem, Wis., whom Georgia Tech signed in the November recruiting period, has been released from his letter of intent.
In making the announcement Wednesday, director of athletics Dave Braine and head basketball coach Paul Hewitt expressed regret at having to release Southall and the events leading up to it.
“In the best interests of Michael, Georgia Tech and the basketball program, we must release him,” said Braine. “The young man exercised poor judgment, and because of that, he is missing a great opportunity. Paul Hewitt could have made a difference in Michael Southall’s future. I’m disappointed that he won’t have the opportunity to play for Paul.”
Southall was one of five high school prospects Hewitt signed during the November period. He spent the past school year at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., after a stellar career at West Salem High School where, as a senior, he averaged 23 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots per game while earning first-team all-state honors.
“Michael’s a fine young man and an outstanding student who has exercised poor judgment in the early stages of his life,” said Hewitt, who completed his first season at Tech with a 17-13 record and an appearance in the NCAA West Regional. “I was looking forward to working with him because of his potential as a student and as an athlete. I sincerely hope someone gives this young man a chance to prove who he really is.”
Southall earned good grades and performed well on the court (9 points and 9 rebounds per game) at Hargrave.
“Because of what has happened to him, he will be under a great deal of scrutiny,” Braine added, “and that will make it very difficult for him to succeed here. That is why we have to terminate the recruiting process.”
Tech’s recruiting class for 2000-01 now includes 6-7 power forward Ed Nelson of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 6-4 shooting guard Barry Elder of Madison, Ga., 6-6 small forward Isma’il Muhammad of Atlanta, and 6-6 Anthony Vasser of Birmingham, Ala.