Rayshaun Hammonds’ birthday happened to coincide with the ceremony at Norcross (Ga.) High for the early signing period.
That meant amid the birthday wishes that he has received on Twitter are messages from fans urging him to choose their favorite school from among his four finalists: Georgia, Texas, Miami and Memphis.
When it came time for Hammonds to take center stage at the signing day event, he opted to remain in his home state and chose Georgia.
“For the next four years, I’ll be attending the University of Georgia,” he said in making the announcement as he then put on a Georgia hat. His family members also donned Georgia hats to applause from the crowd.
Hammonds, a 6-8 small forward, is ranked as the No. 38 player overall by ESPN. A tweener with his height and build, Hammonds blossomed over the summer, averaging 18 points, eight rebounds, and nearly two steals and two assists per game in the Nike EYBL, intensifying the interest.
Georgia was the last player to get a commitment in the Class of 2017.
“I really like how Georgia runs their program,” Hammonds told 247Sports after a weekend campus visit. “I like the coaching staff and the team is really cool. The academics at Georgia stand out.”
In introducing Hammonds, Norcross coach Jesse McMillan said, “I’m confident wherever he chooses in the next three minutes he’s going to go there and be a star. Rayshaun has an opportunity to go somewhere and make a lot of people excited. … Stay true to yourself because you’re a really good kid, you work hard.”
At the ceremony, Lance Thomas also publicly signed with Louisville, although he had previously signed his scholarship papers and Louisville acknowledged their receipt Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period.
Thomas averaged 8.3 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.7 blocks as a junior at Norcross High in Georgia and prospects as a versatile power forward in college. He caught coach Rick Pitino’s eye on the Nike AAU circuit this summer.
“I just thought he had great potential,” Pitino said at a Wednesday news conference. “I was really, really impressed with his ability. … He was, I thought, someone who could play three positions. He has great perimeter skills. We’ll teach him the other skills necessary. The sky’s the limit for how good he can be.”